The information is contained in a press release signed by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Communication, Felix Zogo.
The Secretary General of the Ministry of Communication, Felix Zogo on behalf of Minister René Emmanuel Sadi on August 4, 2020 refuted allegations broadcast in a Yaounde local private radio station on Monday, August 3, 2020 that the Minister had received FCFA 8 billion. The money the journalist claimed in the report, is part of the FCFA 126 billion granted to Cameroon by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to enable the country address urgent financial needs imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent chocks provoked by the fall of petroleum prices in the world market.
Communication Ministry in the press release of August 4, 2020 clarified that upon the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Minister of Communication under the aegis of the Prime Minister, Head of Government, drew up government’s communication plan on the prevention and awareness creation against the COVID-19 pandemic. The amount requested for the execution of the communication plan was FCFA 300 million. The Prime Minister, the release stated after arbitration at his level, on March 27, 2020 put at the disposal of the Minister of Communication an allocation of FCFA 100 million, representing a third of the initial amount requested.
The Head of State, President Paul Biya at the start of the pandemic announced the creation of the National Solidarity Fund to be used in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting economic and social repercussions. Considering that many ministries and other State institutions are involved in the fight against the pandemic, Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute signed decree No. 2020/3221 of 22 July 2020 on the allocation of the National Solidarity Fund. The decree stated that the Ministry of Communication is allocated FCFA 420 million to be used in implementing two activities latest December 31, 2020. The activities include intensification of proximity awareness-creation in public places and educational establishments through mobile sound caravans in the 10 regions of Cameroon. The second activity is animation within the framework of community dialogue with opinion leaders in communities and mobilizing proximity media organs for them to promote good practices in relation to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
It therefore becomes clear, the press release states, that as at now, the only money the Ministry of Communication has received within the framework of the fight against COVID-19 is the FCFA 100 million government disbursed on March 27, 2020 for emergency communication imperatives. The Communication Ministry has since March 2020 been implementing the government’s communication plan to fight against COVID-19 using the allocation from government and the funds from the ministry.
The allegations broadcast by the journalist of the Yaounde private radio station, according to the press release, is therefore gross misinformation with the intention of manipulating public opinion and translates a gross violation of professional ethics. The Secretary General of the Ministry of Communication also refutes information circulating that the journalist and his children were held up in the Ministry when he went there for questioning.