(Business in Cameroon) - Waste tax generated a total of CFA60.6 billion in Cameroon over the 3-year period from 2020 to 2022, according to data from the General Directorate of Customs (DGI).
In detail, CFA12.5 billion were collected in 2020, CFA15.8 billion in 2021, and CFA32.2 billion in 2022. Set at 0.5% of the taxable base for all imported goods upon its introduction in the 2019 budget law, with exceptions for imports exempted by Article 276 of the Customs Code of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), the tax rate was raised to 1% in the 2022 budget law. This resulted in the doubling of the amount collected that year.
However, the amount collected is insufficient to cover the needs of decentralized local authorities (CTDs), who receive these financial resources to clean up Cameroonian cities. Per the Prime Minister's decree of July 24, 2023, which sets out the procedures for collecting, centralizing, distributing and repaying the proceeds of the special excise duty intended to finance the removal and treatment of waste for the benefit of the CTDs, 17.5% of the annual budget must be reserved for the two urban communities of Yaoundé and Douala.
Assuming that the CFA60.6 billion collected between 2020 and 2022 was collected during a single year, the Urban Communities of Douala and Yaoundé would cumulatively collect CFA10.6 billion. However, according to a World Bank study dating back to 2016, cited by Jean-Pierre Ymele, General Manager of Hygiène et Salubrité du Cameroun (Hysacam), the Cameroonian capital needed, at that time, a minimum of CFA15 billion each year to guarantee garbage collection. This amount is likely to have increased substantially by 2023, given the population explosion observed in the capital.
Given this reality, to meet the funding demands for waste collection in Cameroon, the government, in addition to the proceeds from the special excise tax, must therefore maintain the usual subsidy, which could simply be reduced. Currently, according to authorized sources, this subsidy accounts for up to 85% of the waste collection budget in cities under contract with Hysacam, with municipalities responsible for covering the remaining 15%.
Moreover, it is crucial to maintain this financial support and ensure it is disbursed promptly. This will prevent frequent strikes within the primary waste collection company because of delayed payments for services rendered to the government and CTDs.