(Business in Cameroon) - President Paul Biya has decided to soften the measures recently adopted to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Cameroon. This was revealed in a release signed on April 30, 2020, by Prime Minister Joseph Dion Nguté (photo).
According to the release, drinking establishments, restaurants, and leisure facilities are once again allowed to remain open beyond 6 p.m., "with the obligation for customers and users to respect the barrier measures, including the wearing of protective masks and social distancing."
The measure reducing the maximum number of passengers in buses and taxis is also lifted. However, the wearing of face masks is still "compulsory" and overloads are "prohibited."
According to the Prime Minister, the measures were softened because of the "encouraging results obtained with the implementation of “the response strategy against Covid-19," and the "conclusions resulting from the study of the socio-economic impact of this pandemic on the country’s economy."
This study showed that the measures taken to fight the Coronavirus "have led to economic and social distortions, the effects of which are being felt in several sectors of activity," he explains. The most affected sectors being transport, hotels, and restaurants, and trade in general, he adds.
The president of the republic also issued "support measures to relieve the sectors most affected by this health crisis.”
These include financial support to companies with the allocation of a special envelope of XAF25 billion for the payment of VAT credits awaiting reimbursement.
For the remaining measures left unchanged, they have been extended again for 15 days, renewable if necessary.
The 19 new measures
- Public houses, restaurants, and leisure facilities can remain open after 6 p.m but customers and users have to respect barrier measures, in particular the wearing of protective masks and social distancing.
- The reduction of the maximum number of passengers in all public transport buses and taxis is lifted. The wearing of masks remains mandatory and overloads are prohibited.
- The suspension of general accounting audits counting for Q2-2020 except in the case of suspicious tax behaviour.
- The postponement of the deadline for filing Statistical and Tax Declarations without penalties in case the corresponding balance is paid.
- Moratoriums and payment deferrals are granted to companies directly affected by the crisis and forced recovery measures are suspended.
- Allocation of a special envelope of XAF25 billion to support companies’ cashflow by clearing VAT credits awaiting reimbursement.
- The deadline for the payment of property tax counting for the FY2020 is postponed to September 30, 2020.
- Donations and gifts made by companies in the framework of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic are tax-deductible.
- Tourist Tax has been waived in the hotel and restaurant sector for the remainder of the FY2020, starting in March.
- Flat-rate, parking, and axle taxes exemption decided for taxis and cab taxis for Q2-2020. This measure could be extended for the remainder of FY2020.
- Bayam sellams (small foodstuff resellers) exonerated from withholding tax and municipal taxes (marketplace fees notably) for Q2-2020.
- Payment of parking fees and demurrage charges in the ports of Douala and Kribi temporarily suspended for three months for vessels carrying essential products.
- The creation of a MINFI-MINEPAT consultation framework, with the main economic actors, to mitigate the effects of the crisis and promote a rapid resumption of activity.
- The suspension, for three months (namely April, May, and June) of the National Social Security Fund’s (CNPS) on-the-spot inspections.
- The cancellation, upon justified request, of late payment penalties for social security contributions due to the CNPS.
- The payment by installments (over 3 months) of the social security debts of the following months: April, May, and June 2020, upon justified request.
- For the next three months (May to July), the family allowances will be maintained for the staff of companies unable to pay their social security contributions or which have placed their employees under technical unemployment (particularly in the catering, hotel and transport sectors) because of the economic impacts of the coronavirus.
- Family allowances have been increased from XAF2,800 to XAF4,500.
- The old pensions that were not affected by the automatic reevaluation that occurred as the result of the 2016 reform are increased by 20%.