Cameroon: Family Allowances and Salaries Adjusted in Response to Rising Fuel Prices

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President Paul Biya of Cameroon decreed on Wednesday, February 21st, a 5% increase in salaries for civil servants and state employees. In another decree signed on the same day, he decided to revise family allowances for both public and private sector workers, increasing them by 60%. These measures come nearly three weeks after the hike in fuel prices and are intended to alleviate the impact on the population.

President Paul Biya’s decrees, effective from the end of February, establish the 5% salary increases for civil servants and state employees. Will this bring happiness to the primary stakeholders? Not quite, according to Jean-Marc Bikoko, president of the main public sector trade union: “A 5% increase compared to the 20% fuel price hike, which in turn leads to increases in other essential goods, is insignificant.”

Regarding the substantial 60% increase in family allowances for both public and private sector workers, Bikoko downplays its impact, noting that a significant portion of the population is excluded: “This increase in family allowance only applies to employed parents, whether in the public or private sector. And considering they represent barely 10% of the active population, what about the remaining 90%? Allowances need to be extended to all parents, whether employed or not.”

Alternative Solutions

Bikoko believes there are other solutions to improve the livelihoods of Cameroon’s population and bolster state coffers. He suggests starting with reducing the government’s extravagant spending: “The Cameroonian government has over sixty ministers, with all the lavish benefits that come with it. The government can review all of this to have the flexibility to manage the financial constraints it faces.”

In addition to these measures, negotiations are underway between the government and various social partners, particularly concerning the revision of the minimum wage.


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