(Business in Cameroon) - On June 1, 2020, in Douala, MTN launched a campaign to distribute Coronavirus protection equipment. The operation targets 4,000 teachers, health workers in ten hospitals, media personnel, and about 4,000 to 5,000 MTN service vendors in the ten regions of the country. These jobs are deemed to be the most at risk due to their contact with the public. Disinfection equipment will also be provided to town halls so that they can disinfect public places like markets.
In addition to protective equipment, the Cameroonian subsidiary of the South African telecom giant is also directly supporting the government's response to Covid-19 and its customers (companies and individuals). To date, MTN says it has granted the authorities more than 6 million free call minutes and sent 254 million SMS messages to encourage the population to respect the barrier measures. In a few days, the company is also expected to make a teleworking solution available to the government free of charge for six months.
Cost of the support
Also, to facilitate compliance with the barrier measures, MTN has suspended, since March 2020, charges on transfers between MTN Mobile Money (MoMo) accounts, bank accounts and MoMo accounts, bulk transfers for businesses, and electricity bills payments. The company also provides free access to 65 educational websites and platforms to help its clients access educational resources even in isolation or confinement.
On May 29, while announcing the distribution campaign, at the insistence of journalists, the executive secretary of the MTN Foundation in Cameroon, Jean-Melvin Akam (photo) estimated the cost of all of the actions the mobile phone operator has conducted to date against the coronavirus at XAF2 billion.
These expenses will certainly be closely checked by the tax authorities as they are fully deductible. On 30 April, the government decided to "make donations and gifts made by companies to fight the Covid-19 pandemic fully deductible when calculating the corporate income tax."