Cameroon Investment Forum, the International Conference “Invest in Cameroon, Land of opportunities” which took place on 17 and 18 May in Yaoundé, the capital of the country. Business gurus from across the globe met in Yaounde at the behest of President Paul Biya to see where best to invest their money.
The aim of this forum was to let investors see firsthand and discuss avenues for boosting the economy through investments. It offered a unique opportunity for government officials to tell the President’s guests where they can put their finances and be sure of making profits while providing employment to the many young graduates who now flood the job market each year.
Apart from the business-to-business (B to B) forum which was held on the last day of the gathering,stringent measures were taken for concrete resolutions to be reached on crucial domains like energy, transport and urban development, agriculture and the Information and Communications Technologies. Such an outcome will equally be an occasion to boost the business climate in Cameroon that has been so challenging for some years now.
Is the Cameroon taxation policy worth attracting home and foreign investors?
Cameroon is one of the economies in Africa that heavily depends on taxation for its revenue . The Central African nation relies mostly on customs duties and direct taxes as sources of government revenue. Most of the country’s oil revenues do not appear in the national budget and are maintained in secret accounts abroad.
At the end of March 2015, the Tax Directorate of the Cameroonian Ministry of Finance collected 570 billion FCFA in tax revenue above the 525 billion FCFA target. The Cameroon government’s budget for 2015 is balanced at 3.476.6 trillion FCFA, of which 2 trillion FCFA is to be raised by way of customs duties.
The government should revise taxation policy to encourage micro businesses and attract more foreign investors. Startups should be granted tax holidays and the president should embark on campaigns to encourage Cameroonians to consume made in Cameroon products.
As Cameroonians look forward to the vision 2035, it’s appropriate for the government to relax taxation policy and regulation as this will enhance economic growth. A fair tax policy will automatically invite foreign investors and encourage the Cameroonian diaspora to invest back home. What if Cameroon is declared a free trade zone? What will happen to Cameroon’s economic growth?