Cameroon Adds Taxes On Imported Phones Effective Oct 1

Citizens of Cameroon will have to pay customs duties on mobile phones and tablets, effective from October 1, 2020. 

Cameroon Hikes Taxes on Imported Phones Effective October 1

This Communique, announced on September 29, 2020, by the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Mme Minette Libom Li Likeng, fulfills Article 7 of the Finance Act for the 2019 fiscal year.

How The Communique on Taxes Increase on Imported Phones and Tablets Was Announced

The Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Mme Minette Libom, used her official Twitter handle to share the Communique. 

In partnership with the Ministry of Finance, this joint Communique stipulates that taxes will be collected digitally on the tech gadgets highlighted above.

Highlights From This Decision

According to the Joint Decision established on March 13, 2020, terms have been set on levying such duties and taxes. This will be done directly by mobile network operators operating in Cameroon through a dedicated government platform.

The Importers and mobile phones/tablets vendors are advised to make payments through the government's digital system.

This new platform is reported to inform Customs Administration when payments are made. This is so that importers can void double-facing taxation at the terminals. 

It is also possible for the importer to make payments of the fees on the spot, in which case, the importer gets a customs declaration. This enables the importer to immediately proceed to pay the tax due.

Exemptions To The Tax Increase of Imported Mobile Phones and Tablets in Cameroon

  1. Those exempt from paying the new taxes are persons whose tablets or mobile phones have already been used in Cameroon and have already been connected at least once to a telephone network in Cameroon.
  2. This should have occurred before October 16, 2020. 
  3. These phones would be considered "cleared" and are, therefore, will not be charged by the new system.
  4. For those traveling or visiting Cameroon temporarily and using their phones and tablets while roaming, their mobile phones are also exempt from this levy.

Possible Fines

  • If people do not pay their duties.
  • If they fail to display or inform consumers of the status of their tablets or phones.?

Reactions To the Communique

  • Cameroonians, both at home and abroad, have reacted with anger and confusion. The Tech Lady Rebecca Enonchong vehemently called it a 'bad decision.' She wrote via her Twitter handle that the only way she understood this new law was that by Cameroon increasing taxes on its digital economy, phones would be more expensive and less accessible.
  • This also disappoints the team at temogroup as we cover tech news and gadgets in Cameroon. In this digital economy age, we expected subsidies on Tech to increase availability, but this is clearly not the case.
  • Others also reacted via Twitter that the Communique was only available in French. This is no surprise as Cameroon is always touted as bilingual, but most documents are only available in French with no English translations.

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