(Business in Cameroon) - Clandestine money exchangers must get licensed or face the wrath of the law, Finance Minister Louis Paul Motaze (photo) says. In a release issued last May 12, the official ordered the concerned parties to stop the illegal activity and contact the Ministry of Finance to get licensed or become agents of authorized exchange offices. Failing to do that, they will “face legal proceedings,” he indicates in his release.
According to the provisions of the law Cemac N°02/l 8/Cemac/UMAC/CM of December 21, 2018, regulating exchange operations, people who offer clandestine money exchange services may incur custodial sentences, a XAF5 million fine, and the immediate remittance of the foreign currencies.
As national monetary authority, the official reminds that the only legal tender in Cameroon is the Central African CFA Francs (XAF), in accordance with article 6 of the Central African Monetary Union provisions. Therefore, he indicates, other currencies held by economic agents (foreigners and travelers notably) must be exchanged against the legal tenders, obtained from licensed exchangers, before commercial transactions.
So, to capitalize on those requirements, some unauthorized parties settle in public spaces to offer money exchange services to individuals (in big cities notably), despite the numerous information campaigns. Meanwhile, as Minister Louis Paul Motaze explains, clandestine money exchange services are harmful to licensed institutions and also to the country’s business climate and its image. Also, users of those services are running the risk of receiving fake currencies, therefore indirectly participating in money laundering and terrorism financing schemes. Hence the public authorities’ actions to end the black market.