By Giyo Ndzi
The newly established Cameroon Forum of Regulatory Institutions, FIRC, has pledged to modernize the economy and ensure the respect of best practices through regulatory bodies. FIRC members took the commitment over the weekend. This was during the institution’s Constitutive General Assembly. It signified take off after over five years of careful planning and background work. According to FIRC President, National Ports Authority boss, Josue Youmba, all regulatory bodies involved had committed to put in their best.
Present at the forum’s primary General Assembly, were the Directors General of the Hydrocarbon Prices Stabilisation Fund, CSPH, the National Ports Authority, the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency, ART, the National Agency for Information and Communication Technologies, ANTIC, the National Radiation Protection Agency, the Cameroon Customs, the Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority, the Electricity Sector Regulatory Agency and the Standards and Quality Agency, ANOR.
“This forum has as main objectives to make sure best practices are in all sectors and that good governance is observed all over. That is the best way for us to make sure that our economy will be modernised and then it would be improved wherever the regulatory institution has something to do,” he explained.
Noting that the said regulatory institutions were all set up by government, Josue Youmba highlighted the necessity for them to stay at the top of their game. This, he said can be achieved by the institutions delivering just that for which they were established. “… These institutions,” he said, “have been set up by government and the government is the one leading all policies. So, the institutions are there to help government implement all these policies. What government does not have the necessary experts to do,” Youmba noted.
In addition to being guarantors of respect of government policy in their respective sectors, “the institutions are there to advice and give all necessary information to government so that best practices and good governance be applied in all sectors concerned,” he explained further.
Origin of FIRC
The idea was birthed in 2015 during deliberations of the 12th African Forum for Utilities Regulation, AFUR, annual conference. “I would humbly like if you agree with me, to pay a deserved tribute to Jean-Pierre Kedi, former General Manager of the Electricity Sector Regulatory Agency, ARSEL, and Joseph Ngo, General Manager of the Public Contracts Regulatory Agency, ARMP, who, in 2015, took the initiative of setting up a platform for the exchange and sharing of experiences dedicated to the public service utilities regulatory institutions in Cameroon,” the FIRC president said.
Not only did both officials nurse the idea, the FIRC President added, but they also went out of their way to see it come to fruition and become what it is today.
The former General Manager of ARSEL and General Manager of ARMP, Josue Youmba, revealed, “… then undertook to meet with their colleagues in turn, in order to gather us round this salutary project, whose ambition is to bring regulatory institutions to unite their forces, so as to improve and optimise the regulation of public service utilities o the one hand, and by the implementation of sectorial policies in our country, on the other hand”. A team constituted by personnel from both bodies later developed basic documents and basic principles and modalities. During the process, ample contributions and inputs were also received from collaborators of the different regulatory institutions in the country, leading the production of a draft Concept Note, Charter and Plan of Action.
Subsequent sittings and sessions between the regulatory body heads were held between August 18 and November 2018. The nine Directors were on August 8, 2019 granted audience by the Prime Minister Head of Government, who also gave his approval and consent, seeing utmost reason for the Forum. Set to meet once monthly, FIRC seeks “to improve and optimise the regulation of services to the public on the one hand, and on the other hand, to support the State in achieving the desired impacts by the implementation of sectoral policies in our country”.
Prior to its Constitutive General Assembly, the body had since held two successive meetings, hosted by the Hydrocarbon Price Stabilisation Fund, CSPH, and the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency.