(Business in Cameroon) – At the end of the extraordinary summit of the Heads of States of CEMAC (Cameroon, Congo, CAR and Equatorial Guinea), on October 31, 2017, in Ndjamena, Chad’s capital, it was decided to cancel an important portion of the member countries’ arrears in the framework of community integration tax, the community’s autonomous financing mechanism.
“Looking at the issue of financing of the community and considering arrears accumulated by the member States under the community integration tax scheme, the conference has decided to cancel 90% of the arrears, and start on a new sheet. It also invited the countries to clear the balance before the end of this year”, the press release of the conference reads.
This decision which probably emerges as a result of the financial difficulties that CEMAC’s six member States are actually facing due to the drop in their public revenues, which also was driven by the fall in prices of commodities like crude oil, is not good news for the operations of the CEMAC’s commission and the community’ specialized institutions. This is as, the community integration tax, which represents 1% of the imports from non-member countries, is the main funding mechanism of the community.
Based on the mechanism implemented by WAEMU, at the exception some major differences, CEMAC’s community integration tax, adopted in December 2000, according to experts, suffers from congenital defect which explains its ineffectiveness.
“Truly, there are many external factors like the economic crisis which hit most of the countries in the world, as well as the constant political instability which marks the whole Central African region could justify the fact that some member states do not pay their contribution but, an in-depth assessment of the laws governing the community integration tax, points out many flaws in its conception, which are mainly the reason for its poor performance. These flaws are of three orders: an inadequate collection system, problems related to the retention of a contribution grid equal for every country (unlike the system of WAEMU-ed note), and the poor reliability of the statistical and fiscal system”, Muntoo Business Services analyzed.
Brice R. Mbodiam