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BIYA'S 500.000 LAPTOPS; A Scam? - Fab-book

The Minister of Higher Education, Jacques Fame Ndongo signed communiqué No. 16.000/MINESUP/CAB/nn on July 26, 2016 explaining the government’s “Plan Special Jeune” (Special Plan for the Youths). China’s Sichuan Telecom Construction Engineering Co. Ltd has been contracted to supply 500,000 pieces of mini computers to university students. Is this a wise decision? Will this foster economic development? Let’s try to answer a few of these questions.

The monetary equivalent of the 500,000 mini laptop computers is 75 Billion Francs CFA borrowed from China’s EXIM Bank. When analyzed, this amount could provide 6,000 jobs to youths with a salary of 100,000 Frs per month for the next ten years! In as much as computers are vital for research and other academic course work, the truth is that there are urgent priority projects on Cameroon’s development plan such as combating unemployment, provision of portable drinking water to every household, mechanize agriculture, roads development and maintenance, etc. These are priorities which we believe are more important.

Recent findings from China’s leading laptop manufacturing companies in the city of Shenzhen have proven that the price of the highest grade quality of 500,000 mini laptop computers with each having a warranty of two years ranges from 52 dollars (29,350 FRS) to 79 dollars (46,373 FRS) per laptop. (Current exchange rate is 1USD = 587 XAF.) Let’s say each laptop costs the maximum price of 46,373 Frs. If we multiply 500,000 by 46,373, we have 23 billion, one hundred and eighty six million, five hundred thousand francs (23,186,500,000 FRS). Now, our government is buying these laptops at 150,000 FRS per laptop (150,000 * 500,000 = 75 billion Frs.). Two things are possible; either it’s a very bad deal, or some insiders have inflated the price to almost 4 times the actual price for their personal consumption. This can lead to underdevelopment. We haven’t even talked about the interest rate our country has to pay on this loan within this 10 years period.

Well, considering the above analysis, I would want to think that this decision of borrowing 75 billion Frs. to purchase 500,000 mini laptop computers for university students is not a wise one. What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section

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