9.02.2014

Attracting Private Investments: Conditions for Fiscal Exoneration

By Godlove BAINKONG, Cameroon Tribune, 01-09-2014
The Minister of Finance has revised some provisions of the 2013 arêté on the fiscal and customs advantages vis-à-vis the April 18 law.
Private investors who own or are willing to set up businesses in Cameroon and benefit from a wide-range of advantages that the April 18, 2013 law on inciting private investments now know the conditions to fulfill to access fiscal exonerations.
A July 17, 2014 order of the Minister of Finance modifies some provisions of the November 19, 2013 arêté on the fiscal and customs advantages harmonizing it with the Law No. 2013/004 of 18 April 2013 that provides incentives for private investments in the Republic of Cameroon.  The April 18, 2013 law provides rights for investors and potential ones as well as makes provision for responsibilities and the ministerial order now clarifies on the incentives spelling out what who can do where, when and how to access the varied advantages.
Who Gets What, Where?
Existing enterprises involved in new ventures in industrial, touristic, handicrafts, cultural, sporting, health, education, energy, livestock and fisheries, social housing and urban transport sectors have varied incentives. These include reduction in taxes on the company or on industrial dividends, registration  duties  relating to credit facilities, loans, advances on current accounts, bonds, increments, reduction, reimbursement and liquidation of share capital, or any transfer of activities, ownership or enjoyment of real-estate property, leases or shares. Such companies will be exempted from Value Added Tax (VAT) on the importation of equipment and materials related to the investment programme, a 5 per cent reduction on customs duties on the importation of equipment and material for extending the enterprise.
What Conditions?
The condition for accessing these advantages is that the licensed company must be up-to-date with its fiscal and customs obligations. Even with it, there is need for a certificate of exoneration issued by the Directorate General of Taxation. The company in question is therefore required to furnish the pro forma bills and estimated costs conforming to the investment plan for service delivery on foreign investment as well as declarations on the importation of equipment and materials. With the documents in place, the competent fiscal services have a maximum of five days to deliver the exoneration certificate or notify the applicant on its rejection.  If the enterprise asking for the exoneration already exists, it has to have two accounts; one on what it has been doing and the other on what it will be doing. 
Possible Effects
This new law on investments in Cameroon in itself is revolutionary as its scope of application is enlarged to so many sectors and its advantages non-discriminatory for both local and foreign investors. This certainly sets records straight for the understanding of all and sundry. With sustained government’s efforts like setting up of  specific visa and reception desk at all the airports of the country and all diplomatic and consular missions  abroad  to issue on the spot investment visas to investors subject to the presentation of  a formal invitation from the Investments Promotion Agency as well as the granting of residence and work permits to expatriate staff involved in any investment project and employment contracts of more than two years, the stage is now conveniently set for win-win investments in the country.

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