The halt on exemptions for imported goods that can be produced locally could eventually take effect in Cameroon in 2023. Envisaged since 2019 by the government, the measure has just been endorsed by the President of the Republic.


In the circular note on the preparation of the 2023 Finance Bill, the President envisages "the discontinuation of exemptions on imports of products that could be manufactured locally or with local substitutes, as well as those impeding the development of certain sectors, in order to encourage their local production and competitiveness".


"The promotion of the import-substitution policy advocated by the government requires that exemptions on certain products (...) such as rice, fish and wheat, be reduced or gradually eliminated," said Finance Minister Louis Paul Motaze on July 5 in Parliament, during the Budget Orientation Debate (DOB) to elaborate the 2023 Finance Bill.


A report on tax expenditures presented by the Ministry of Finance (Minfi), annexed to the 2022 finance law, reveals that imports of frozen fish, wheat and rice amounted to CFAF 160 billion in 2020, compared to CFAF 232 billion in 2019.


For the International Monetary Fund (IMF), this action could certainly increase revenue and reduce the risk of corruption in Cameroon. But the institution notes that most tax exemptions are for basic foodstuffs (fish, rice, wheat and milk). The Bretton Woods institution believes that "given the security and socio-political situation, it will be difficult to cut down imports of these goods".


Source : Business in Cameroon

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