The Senate Chamber at the Yaounde Conference Centre was yesterday June 9, 2016, the venue for Senators to check government activities as prescribed by law. Senate President, Marcel Niat Njifenji, in the presence of the Vice Prime Minister, Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Relations with the Assemblies, Amadou Ali, called the House to order and announced that the plenary session was for questions to the Executive. Seven cabinet ministers were grilled on issues patterning to tourism, agriculture, bilingualism, water and electricity, environment amongst others.
The Minister of State in charge of Tourism and Leisure, Bello Bouba Maïgari, was the first to mount the rostrum to respond to a question from NUDP Senator, Pierre Flambeau Ngayap, on the impact of the Boko Haram war on tourism in the Far North Region. The Minister of State said the impact is tremendous, not only on the tourism sector, but also on agriculture, education and health. Bello Bouba stressed that the government is preoccupied most with the pressing issue of securing the population and defending the national territory, which so far have been done with great success by the Defence Forces.
This notwithstanding, moves are being made to promote internal tourism, given that diplomatic missions had advised their compatriots to stay away from the Far North Region. Similarly, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Henri Eyebe Ayissi, was also quizzed on measures taken to pre-empt food deficiency in the Far North Region. He outlined short and long term measures adopted stating the Head of State’s special food donation worth FCFA 12 billion which has been partly distributed. Agricultural machinery and the development of production zones are part of long-term measures to ensure food sufficiency in the region.
On the imbalance in the use of official languages in communicating important information, Communication Minister, Issa Tchiroma Bakary pointed out that the Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon provides for English and French as two official languages of equal status. He cited his press outings, which he said are always bilingual and the official newspaper, Cameroon Tribune, which publishes information in both languages.
Senator Simon Anja’s worry on the non-posting of French language teachers to some schools especially in Akwaya sub-division, Manyu Division of the South West Region, was also addressed by the Minister of Basic Education, Youssouf Alim Adidja. Meanwhile, measures to ease access to water and electricity were explained by Minister Basile Atangana Kouna who also said errors in the billing systems should be reported to the service providers. The Minister of Finance, Alamine Ousmane Mey, his colleague of Environment and Protection of Nature, Helé Pierre also provided answers to worries of Senators.