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Cameroon: Financial intermediaries to soon be compelled by law to disclose their foreign financial transactions to the customs administration

Cameroon: Financial intermediaries to soon be compelled by law to disclose their foreign financial transactions to the customs administration
  • Comments   -   Wednesday, 02 December 2020 10:05

(Business in Cameroon) - In the framework of the budget session ongoing in the parliament since November 12, 2020, MPs are examining the draft finance law 2021 submitted by the Cameroonian government. The said draft contains an article on the disclosure of financial transactions by licensed financial intermediaries (institutions such as banks microfinance, post offices, and exchange services specialized in foreign exchange and money transfer operations).

Paragraph 1 of the said article indicates that by the 10th of every month, financial intermediaries must disclose all the financial transactions they carried out with foreign countries (either for their own or on behalf of a third party) the previous month, to the directorate general of customs via electronic means. Paragraph 2 states that the said intermediaries are also required to transmit, by the 10th of January, the consolidated annual statements, counting for the previous year, to the same administration.

The same text indicates that microfinance institutions are also required to disclose the financial transactions they carried out with foreign countries on behalf of their clients.

"Failure to transmit the information referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 (…) or their transmission beyond the prescribed time limits are assimilated to the offense of refusing to communicate documents provided for in the CEMAC Customs Code and sanctioned as such, without prejudice to the penalties provided for in the said Code,” the draft text reads.

According to the CEMAC Customs Code, the failure of an approved intermediary to communicate this information to the customs administration is punishable by a fine ranging from XAF500,000 to 2 million. The license of the culprit could also be withdrawn.

This regulation is a way for the customs administration (which is obliged to regularly publicize the exchange rates of foreign currencies into the local currency) to regulate foreign transactions. It is also a means for authorities to control currency flows through exchange transactions or money transfers.

Sylvain Andzongo

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