Yaoundé - 22 April 2021 -

Cameroon: Customs agents seize 2,685 contraband cellphones in the Southwest

Cameroon: Customs agents seize 2,685 contraband cellphones in the Southwest
  • Comments   -   Wednesday, 31 March 2021 13:27

(Business in Cameroon) - Agents of Limbe mobile customs brigade (in the Southwest) recently seized 2,685 cell phones without customs clearance documents during a search at the Mudeka checkpoint, internal customs sources reveal. This umpteenth seizure revives debates about the cellphone smuggling problems facing Cameroon.  

Indeed, over the past 20 years, the mobile penetration rate grew rapidly but, the customs revenues generated by the sector did not follow the same trend. They were rather dropping, we learned.  "Nowadays, we barely collect XAF100 million monthly instead of the XAF2 billion we used to collect monthly. This decrease contrasts with the number and quality of the phones imported," the Directorate General of Customs explains.

To address phone smuggling issues, the government announced that as of October 15, 2020, a digital mobile tax collection system would become effective. The system entailed mobile operators connecting to a digital platform developed by French company Arintech to facilitate the collection of customs duties on mobile phones by debiting users’ airtime.  

However, due to the problems pointed out by mobile operators (the platform’s limited technical characteristics, private data management issues, the legality of using airtime as a payment means, the projected losses to be incurred by operators if disgruntled users stop using their networks because of the new measure...) as well as users’ protests against the project, the government postponed its reform.

Customs authorities explained that the reform was aimed at ensuring that most of the cellphones illegally imported into the country are cleared, providing significant additional customs revenues to the country. Indeed, according to the customs authorities, about 4 million cellphones are imported into Cameroon every year. Based on a minimum clearance rate of XAF10,000 per phone, the potential revenue is XAF13 billion. However, the public treasury only collects about XAF1 billion, causing an about XAF12 billion revenue shortfall for the country.


Minister of Decentralization and Local Development, Georges Elanga Obam (photo) recently expressed his concerns over the management of the...
Cameroon loses 40 to 50% of its cocoa seedlings in nursery plants every year because of climate change due to which dry seasons are increasingly longer....
On April 20, the Bank of Central African States (Beac) issued a pre-qualification notice for the selection of a technical and strategic partner to...
During the 2020-2021 cotton season, which will be concluded in the next few days, Cameroon Cotton Development Corporation (SODECOTON) is expected to...

Mags frontpage

Business in Cameroon n98: March 2021

State personnel Time for a slimming diet

More support to boost the Cameroonian industry’s competitiveness

Investir au Cameroun n108: Mars 2021

Personnel de l’Etat Un régime minceur s’impose

Un soutien à la compétitivité de l’industrie camerounaise