Teachers’ strike and control of the wage bill in Cameroon: an emergency plan for the management of state human resources is needed.
The recent teachers’ strike revealed the power of digital and henceforth a negotiating strength of teachers. It is not just a collection of extra souls but a real negotiating weapon. Although useful and relevant, this numerical importance nevertheless raises the question of the control of the civil service workforce and consequently of the wage bill.
It appears that from 2006 to 2021, i.e. 15 years, the wage bill has more than doubled (i.e. approximately 2.5 times). And yet, the overall administrative staffing rate is very low (public agents/overall population), i.e. 344,982 /24,348,251 (1.41%) and unevenly distributed in different sectors. Education represents 45.8%, defence and security 25.8%, and general and financial administration 9.5%. The other sectors represent less than 5.1% (health, 5.1%, rural sector, 3.1%, productive infrastructure, 3.1%, social development and employment, 1.7%).
This reality reveals poor control of the wage bill on the one hand, and questions the quality of recruitment on the other hand, with regard to the priorities of Cameroon’s development strategy. This may justify the delay in the execution of structuring projects, the weak operationalisation of strategic decisions and the weak intermediation between the state and actors in the various sectors.
The present reflection establishes a worrying evolution of the wage bill and a disproportionate distribution of staff in different sectors. It suggests courageous structural reforms and the reorganisation of recruitment to ensure consistency with the ambitions of Cameroon’s development strategy. The issue of human resources should not only be addressed in budgetary terms, as state personnel are not a burden but a resource, i.e. an asset useful for performance.
More specifically, it is suggested that a strategic analysis be carried out to determine the quality and quantity of the state’s human resources to be recruited by sector in order to effectively support public policies.
The current mapping of the State’s human resources cannot guarantee the achievement of emergence by 2035. This reflection must combine both the concerns of decentralisation (with the local civil service) and taking into account the special character of the North West and South West regions.
There is an urgent need to act! We suggest that an emergency plan be put in place to rationalise the management of the State’s human resources.