Moving On The Right Tack

Two major reforms in Cameroon seem to have caught the attention of the World Bank Group flagship publication; Doing Business.

 

In its 2017 publication, it ranked Cameroon 166th indicating a one-position improvement from the 2016 ranking. According to the report, Cameroon’s score went up from 44.48 in Doing Business 2016 to 45.27 in Doing Business 2017. This means that country has improved its business regulations as captured by the Doing Business indicators in absolute terms. The report clearly states that the country is narrowing the gap with the global regulatory frontier. For this to have happened, two major reforms featured prominently among the whole gamut of reforms the country undertook.

The ones seen by Doing Business as having influenced the country’s position are; the introduction of substantive improvements in the local regulatory framework by making dealing with construction permits easier through the reduction of time it takes to obtain the building permit and strengthening the Building Quality Control Index by increasing transparency. Secondly, Cameroon made resolving insolvency easier by introducing a new conciliation procedure for companies in financial difficulties and a simplified preventive settlement procedure for small companies.

While acknowledging the survey on which Doing Business based its evaluation, it is important to underscore the fact that many more of such reforms equally occurred in a bid to ameliorate the business climate and attract more investment from local companies. On the basis of this, many investors now find Cameroon a better risk to do business, hence the influx into the country of several foreign companies. This attractiveness hinges on two things, the legal and administrative instruments. According to documentation on the country's economic performance from the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT), the skies are increasingly becoming brighter for Cameroon judging from her economic growth in the past five years.

MINEPAT observes that much is being done to cleanse the business climate so as to attract substantial and sustainable investors, especially direct foreign investments. The moves include among others the April 18, 2013 law on private investment incentives in Cameroon, the 2013 law governing economic zones in the country and the regular holding of the Cameroon Business Forum, a platform for public/private consultation on improving the business climate.

 The creation and rendering operational of the bank for small and medium-sized enterprises and the launching in 2013 of Leasing, a mechanism to equip enterprises, are said to be good steps in the right direction.  The results have been palpable. Private investments have increased since the enactment of Law No. 2013/004 of 18 April 2013 providing incentives for private investments. The companies are offered diverse advantages during the installation and production phases (15 years) so as to get back their investments before government's full fiscal policies are applied on them. With all these and many others, the country seems to be moving on the right track.

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