(Business in Cameroon) - On 6 April 2017, Cameroonian Prime Minister, Philémon Yang, signed a decree fixing the “procedures for establishing or operating networks and providing electronic communication services subject to a licencing scheme”. It is once again reiterated that operating licences are issued by the Minister in charge of Telecommunications, on a proposal from the Regulatory Agency.
This government text thus seems to vindicate the Minister of Post and Telecommunication, Minette Libom Li Likeng, who, since a newsworthy appearance on 21 October 2016, criticised the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Agence de Régulation des Télécommunications - ART), for illegally granting itself the issuance of “temporary permits” to telecom companies subject to licencing.
In a communiqué published in January 2017, the boss of Telecoms gave operators holding “temporary permits” issued by ART up to last 14 February to comply with the law, at the risk of losing their right to do business on Cameroonian territory.
According to our sources, 22 operators are concerned by this warning from the Minister Libom Li Likeng, namely Créolink, Ringo Sarl, Northwave Sarl (Vodafone), Global Solutions Technologies, CFAO Technologies, Digitel Sarl, Decsite Africa Sarl, GTS Infotel, Green Tech, Avilyos, TNT Africa, Afrikanet Online, Matrix Telecom, Easynet SA, Seme Telecom, Sphere 3i, HTT Telecom, etc. More than a month after the deadline fixed by the Minister of Post and Telecommunications expired for these operators (14 February 2017), we learn, the decree signed on 6 April by the Prime Minister grants a new extension of 6 months to allow these companies to comply with current regulation.
Unfortunately, as is the case before the reform of 2010, the new government text once again remains silent on the amount of the fee to be paid to the State by telecoms operators subject to licencing. It is into this gap that ART stepped, when the fee with collection methods and amount unknown until now, and started to issue “temporary permits” to operators disregarding regulatory measures.
Brice R. Mbodiam