Despite persistence of unfavourable factors that slowed down economic growth in 2017, the customs department remains optimistic it will hit its projected revenue collection objective.
All eyes are certainly turned towards the taxation and customs department as recent economic trends show Cameroon is bound to depend mainly on non-oil revenue sources of income to meet its economic plans of 2018 as experts forecast prices of oil will remain low.
Nevertheless, the 2018 budget which stands at FCFA 4,513.5 billion was drawn up with consideration of this prediction. The department collected circa FCFA 600 billion in 2016, over FCFA 700 billion in 2017 and forecasts the collection of FCFA 800 billion this year despite persistent unfavourable factors that slowed down economic growth last year; chiefly insecurity, humanitarian crisis, the global drop in prices of the country’s main exports such as cocoa, coffee, rubber, among others.
The customs department has also lost a considerable part of its usual income to the Economic Partnership agreement. Edwin Fongod Nuvaga, Director General of Customs maintains the agreement remains a good deal, if viewed from a macro perspective.
To meet its 2018 target, the customs department carried out a series of innovations and reforms including increase and reduction of customs duties on importation and exportation of certain goods. Some of the goods include arms and munitions, timber logs, sardines, pharmaceutical products, Penja white pepper, eru, Oku honey, among others.
Edwin Fongod Nuvaga says the innovations and reforms of his department were drawn up under two groups of measures; one is to facilitate trade and encourage enterprises while the other is to increase revenue.
The International Monetary Fund has lauded the reforms and innovations for alternative revenue collection that would help Cameroon withstand challenges of the time.
The IMF, in its first review of the country under the Extended Credit Facility arrangement published on January 16, also commended the fact that the customs administration is working on upgrading its IT system to improve the tracking of imported products and merchandises on transit, and enhancing the efficiency of customs clearance procedures, while the taxation department is focusing on improving collection of value added tax, VAT, through the operationalization of new medium-sized enterprises tax administration centers; and expanding electronic payments.
Both revenue collection departments of the Ministry of Finance, it said, are also committed to accelerate efforts to collect tax arrears. The African Development Bank’s 2018 economic outlook also hailed the budgetary reforms and innovation.