BILL TO INSTITUTE THE GENERAL CODE OF REGIONAL AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES (pages 1-10 of 145)
|REPUBLIC OF CAMEROON
|PEACE – WORK – FATHERLAND
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BILL TO INSTITUTE THE GENERAL CODE OF REGIONAL AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES IN CAMEROON
Section 1: (1) This law institutes the general code of regional and local authorities
referred to hereinafter as “local authorities”.
(2) It sets out:
- the common provisions applicable to local authorities;
- the status of local elected officials;
- the rules governing the organization and functioning of local authorities;
- the financial regime of local authorities; and
- special regulations applicable to certain local authorities.
Section 2: (1) The local authorities of the Republic shall be regions and councils.
(2) They shall carry out their activities with due respect for national unity and solidarity, territorial integrity and the primacy of the State.
(3) Local authorities shall have equal status. No local authority may establish or exercise control over another.
(4) Any other such local authority shall be created by law.
Section 3.- (1) The North-West and South-West Regions shall have special status based on their linguistic specificity and historical heritage.
(2) The special status referred to in sub-section (1) above shall be reflected with regard to decentralization, in specificities in the organization and functioning of these two regions.
(3) The special status shall also entail respect for the peculiarity of the Anglophone education system and consideration of the specificities of the Anglosaxon legal system based on common law.
(4) The content of the specificities and peculiarities referred to in sub-sections (2) and (3) above shall be specified in separate instruments.
Section 4.-, Where necessary, tax and economic incentives may be granted through separate instruments to some regions, depending on their context.
GENERAL FRAMEWORK OF DECENTRALIZATION
Section 5: (1) Decentralization shall consist of devolution by the State of special powers and appropriate resources to local authorities.
(2) Decentralization shall constitute the basic driving force for promotion of development, democracy and good governance at the local level.
FREE ADMINISTRATION OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES
PRINCIPLE OF ELECTION OF THE ORGANS OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES
Section 6: (1) Local authorities shall be administered freely by elected organs, under conditions laid down by law.
(2) The deliberative and executive organs of local authorities shall derive their power through universal suffrage.
Section 7: Local authorities may exceptionally be administered by unelected organs, in particular, pursuant to the provisions relating to the establishment of a special delegation.
ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCIAL AUTONOMY
OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES
Section 8: Local authorities shall be public law legal persons. They shall have administrative and financial autonomy in the management of regional and local interests and shall, by deliberation, address matters falling within their sphere of competence.
I – Administrative Autonomy of Local Authorities
Section 9: Local authorities shall have their own assets, staff, public and private property and services separate from those of the State and other public bodies.
Section 10: Local authorities may, as part of their mandate, execute projects in partnership with one another, with the State, public establishments, public, semi-public and private enterprises, civil society organizations or foreign partners under the terms and conditions laid down by the laws and regulations in force.
II – Financial Autonomy of Local Authorities
Section 11: (1) Local authorities shall have their own budgets and resources for the management of regional and local interests.
As such, they shall:
- freely draw up and vote their budgets;
- have their own resources;
- receive resources from the State and other public or private sector entities;
- receive all or part of the proceeds from the exploitation of natural resources within their territory, under the conditions laid down by law;
- generate the resources needed to promote the economic, social, health, educational, cultural and sports development in their areas of jurisdiction.
(2) The resources referred to in sub-section (1) above shall be freely managed by regional and local authorities under the conditions laid down by law.
Section 12: The resources necessary for the exercise of the powers devolved to local authorities shall be allocated to them either by transfer of taxes or grants, or both.
LIABILITY OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES
Section 13: (1) Local authorities shall be solely liable for the timeliness of their decisions, in compliance with laws and regulations.
(2) Heads of executives of local authorities shall represent them in civil life and in court.
(3) Heads of executives may take or initiate safeguard or interim revocation measures.
Section 14: (1) The deliberative organ of the local authority shall decide on which matters to refer to or defend in court on behalf of the local authority.
(2) However, at the beginning of the financial year, it may authorize the head of the executive to defend the interests of the local authority concerned in all matters.
Section 15: The liability of regions or councils shall be waived where the representative of the State replaces the head of the regional or council executive under conditions laid down by law.
Section 16: (1) Local authorities shall exercise their powers within the bounds of national defence interests.
(2) The exercise of the powers provided for by this law shall not bar State authorities from taking, in regional and local authorities, their public establishments and enterprises or groups, measures necessary for such State authorities to perform their duties in matters of security, civil or military defence, in accordance with the laws and regulations in force.
DEVOLUTION OF POWERS TO LOCAL AUTHORITIES
PRINCIPLE OF DEVOLUTION OF POWERS
Section 17: The State shall devolve to local authorities the powers necessary for their economic, social, health, educational, cultural and sports development.
Section 18: (1) Local authorities shall exclusively exercise the powers devolved by the State.
(2) However, notwithstanding sub-section (1) above, the State may exercise the powers so devolved:
- where the Government intends to intervene on an ad hoc basis to ensure the balanced development of the territory or to address an emergency situation;
- in the event of a failure duly established by order of the minister in charge of local authorities, as reported by:
- the minister concerned by the power devolved;
- the deliberative organ of the local authority by a two-thirds majority of its members.
(3) The conditions for the implementation of this section shall be laid down by decree of the Prime Minister.
Section 19: The devolution and sharing of powers between local authorities shall distinguish between the powers devolving upon regions and those devolving upon councils.
Section 20: (1) The devolution and sharing of powers provided for in Section 19 above shall be consistent with the principles of subsidiarity and complementarity.
(2) The devolution of powers provided for under this law may not authorize a local authority to establish or exercise supervisory powers over another.
Section 21: The devolution of powers to a local authority shall be accompanied by the transfer, by the State to the local authority, of the resources and means necessary for the effective exercise of such powers.
HUMAN AND MATERIAL RESOURCES INHERENT IN
THE DEVOLUTION OF POWERS
I – Human Resources
Section 22: (1) Local authorities shall freely recruit and manage the staff needed for the purposes of their mandate, in accordance with the laws and regulations in force.
(2) However, State employees may be transferred to, placed on secondment to or at the disposal of local authorities upon the request of the latter, in accordance with the terms and conditions laid down by regulation.
(3) The State shall establish a local public service whose rules and regulations shall be laid down by decree of the President of the Republic.
Section 23: Civil servants or employees of devolved State services who directly or indirectly lend assistance to a local authority in the conduct of an operation may not, in any manner whatsoever, be involved in the oversight of actions related to the said operation.
II – Material Resources
Section 24: (1) Devolution of power shall automatically entail the handover to the beneficiary local authority of all movable and immovable property in use, at the devolution date, for the exercise of such power.
(2) The property handover provided for in sub-section (1) above shall be duly established by a devolution decree signed by the Prime Minister.
FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE DEVOLUTION OF POWERS
I – Common Decentralization Fund
Section 25: (1) A Common Decentralization Fund for the partial financing of decentralization is hereby instituted.
(2) Each year, the Finance Law shall determine the fraction of State revenue to be allocated to the Common Decentralization Fund referred to in sub-section (1) above.
(3) The fraction referred to in sub-section (2) above may not be less than fifteen percent (15%).
II – Balance between Devolved Powers and Resources
Section 26: (1) Expenditure corresponding to the exercise of devolved powers shall be assessed prior to devolution of such powers.
(2) Any new expenditure to be borne by local authorities subsequent to amendments by the State, by regulation, of rules on the exercise of devolved powers must be offset by an equivalent allocation to the Common Decentralization Fund provided for in Section 25 above or by other tax revenue, in accordance with terms and conditions laid down by law. The abovementioned regulatory instrument shall so specify.
(3) Where a shortage of funds in local authorities may jeopardize the execution of public service missions, the State may intervene through special allocations to the local authorities concerned.
Section 27: (1) For each local authority, financial expenses arising from the devolution of powers shall entail an allocation by the State of resources of an amount at least equivalent to the said expenses.
(2) Resources to be so allocated shall be at least equivalent to the expenditure incurred by the State during the financial year immediately preceding the date of devolution of power.
MANAGEMENT AND USE OF THE PRIVATE DOMAIN OF THE STATE, THE PUBLIC DOMAIN AND THE NATIONAL DOMAIN BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES
Section 28: (1) The powers devolved on local authorities in matters concerning public land shall be exercised in accordance with the laws in force and which is not repugnant to the provisions of this law.
(2) Projects or operations initiated by a region or council shall be established in accordance with the land laws and regulations in force.
MANAGEMENT AND USE OF THE PRIVATE DOMAIN OF THE STATE
BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES
Section 29: (1) The State may transfer to local authorities all or part of its movable or immovable property within its private domain, or conclude agreements with them relating to the use of such property.
(2) The State may transfer to local authorities the movable and immovable property referred to in sub-section (1) above, at their request, or on the initiative of the State, in order to enable them to carry out their missions, host services, or build public amenities.
Section 30: The State may, pursuant to the provisions of Section 29 of this law, facilitate access by local authorities to full ownership of all or part of the movable and immovable property belonging to its private domain, or simply assign to them the right to use some of its movable and immovable property.
MANAGEMENT AND USE OF PUBLIC MARITIME DOMAIN AND INLAND WATERWAYS BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES
Section 31: (1) The council shall be bound to seek, by deliberation, the authorization of the regional executive, to initiate projects of local interest in the public maritime domain and inland waterways.
(2) The decisions provided for in sub-section (1) above shall be subject to approval by the representative of the State.
Section 32: (1) The implementation of projects or operations of local interest in the public maritime domain and inland waterways by natural persons, local authorities or any other corporate body shall be subject to authorization by the deliberative organ of the region, on the recommendation of the municipal council where the project is located.
(2) The authorization provided for in sub-section (1) above shall be subject to prior approval by the representative of the State.
Section 33: (1) In zones falling under public maritime domain and inland waterways whose special development plans are approved by the State, powers shall be devolved to regions and councils for the management of the areas respectively assigned to them in the said plans.
(2) The related royalties shall be paid to the regions and councils concerned.
(3) The management decisions issued by the heads of executives of local authorities shall be subject to approval by the competent Representative of the State and shall, upon meeting this requirement, be notified to the deliberative organs for information.
Section 34: Decisions concerning projects or operations initiated by the State in the public maritime domain and inland waterways as part of the exercise of its sovereignty or to promote economic and social development, or regional development shall be taken after consulting the regional council, except for purposes of national defence or for maintaining law and order. In the latter case, the State shall notify the decision to the deliberative organ of the region for information.
Section 35: The artificial public domain shall be managed exclusively by the State. However, the State may transfer such domain to regions, in accordance with the classification procedures laid down by decree of the Prime Minister.
MANAGEMENT AND USE OF THE NATIONAL DOMAIN
Section 36: (1) Projects or operations initiated by a local authority shall be implemented in accordance with the land laws and regulations in force.
(2) For projects or operations initiated by a decision of the State on the territory of a council, the opinions of the Regional Council and the Municipal Council concerned shall be sought, save where national defence or public order requirements dictate otherwise.
(3) The decision referred to in sub-section (2) above shall be notified to the Regional Council or the Municipal Council concerned for information.
(4) National domain land may, where necessary, be registered in the name of the council or region, particularly to serve as a site for the implementation of collective infrastructure projects.
ORGANIZATION AND FUNCTIONING OF
GENERAL RULES OF ORGANIZATION
Section 37: (1) Local authorities shall have their own services and, as and when necessary, receive assistance from devolved State services.
(2) Local public services of local authorities may be run under council supervision, as concessions or leases.
Section 38: Local authorities may set up local public establishments or enterprises, in accordance with the laws in force governing public establishments, enterprises or companies with State participation and private law corporate bodies, which receive financial assistance from public authorities.
I – Legality of Actions of Councils and Regions
Section 39: (1) Local authorities shall carry out their missions in accordance with the Constitution as well as laws and regulations in force.
(2) No local authority may deliberate outside its statutory meetings, or on matters outside its jurisdiction or which undermine State security, law and order, national unity or territorial integrity.
(3) Where a local authority acts in violation of the provisions of sub-section (1) above, the resolution or decision impugned shall be declared null and void by order of the representative of the State, without prejudice to the penalties provided for by the laws and regulations in force.
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