An amount meant to develop communities the Senate represents as de-centralised territorial authorities.
This institution has cost the Cameroonian taxpayer a cumulative amount of 167 billion CFA francs since its creation. This has re-launched the debate on its usefulness, as some consider it to be a budgetary institution. Our deciphering.
The envelope allocated to the Senate in the Finance Act for the year 2021 amounts to 16 billion CFA francs. It is allocated to the governance and institutional support of the Senate and the objective, according to the law, is to “ensure the optimal implementation of the Senate’s programmes”. The Senate’s budget for this fiscal year 2023, which corresponds to a year in which senatorial elections are scheduled, is up from the previous year. The Senate’s budget for fiscal year 2022 was CFAF 15.162 billion. This is the same as in the two previous years, namely 2021 and 2020.
There is therefore an increase of one billion CFA francs between the budget of the current year and that of the two previous years. In short, in 2023, the Senate simply has the largest budget since its effective establishment in 2013. In deciding on this budget in December 2022, the Senate office justified the increase by taking into account a number of innovations. These included the commitment of senators to deepen the decentralisation process. “The Senate will focus on decentralisation through the visits of senators to the field,” explained Senator Otte Andrew Mofa. Another reason for this increase in the Senate’s budget in 2023 is the move and installation of the chamber in its new premises, as the Cameroonian Senate has not yet had a seat since its creation.
It is more precisely in the budget of the year 2014 that chapter 53 of the finance law, devoted to the Senate, appears for the first time. That year, it amounted to CFAF 15.200 billion and was divided into three programmes: strengthening the legislative process, contributing to the consolidation of parliamentary control of government action, and governance and institutional support for the Senate.
The objectives of this first budget of the new upper chamber of the Cameroonian Parliament are also threefold and refer to the reasons that contributed to the creation of the Senate. They are presented as follows: ‘to improve the quality of the laws passed, to ensure the balanced development of decentralised territorial communities and to support the implementation of institutional programmes’.
These objectives did not vary much during the following budgets; in the same way that the envelope allocated to the Senate, even if it did not vary much, fluctuated regularly. CFAF 15.200 billion for the first two years (2014 and 2015). The budget for the Senate was CFAF 14.975 billion in 2016 and 2017, CFAF 14.991 billion in 2018 and CFAF 15.191 billion in 2019. In total, in terms of budget, the Senate has cost the State of Cameroon CFAF 167.6 billion since 2014. Provided for in the Cameroonian constitution of 1996, the Senate represents the decentralised territorial authorities, namely the communes and regions. Its mission, like the National Assembly, is to adopt laws, make amendments or reject texts submitted for its consideration.