Yaoundé - 09 June 2023 -

Cemac Oil and mining companies’ repatriated cash hits CAF765 billion between Oct 2022 and Feb 2023

Cemac Oil and mining companies’ repatriated cash hits CAF765 billion between Oct 2022 and Feb 2023
  • Comments   -   Thursday, 27 April 2023 17:32

(Business in Cameroon) - Oil and mining companies operating in the Cemac zone have brought back home CFA765 billion ($1.2 million or €88 million) in forex profits between October 2022 and February 2023, the Central Bank Beac said in a recent note.

According to the document, this figure contributed up to 27% to the increase in the volume of CEMAC's forex reserves at the end of 2022 (more than CFA7,000 billion). The funds have been placed in some fifty foreign currency accounts opened in the books of the central bank. The foreign exchange regulations, which were adopted in December 2018 and entered into force in March 2019, provide for a total repatriation of these overseas earnings. But the extractive companies negotiated to only repatriate 35% of their export revenues. They also have the possibility of having offshore and onshore foreign currency accounts that cannot be seized by the monetary authority, according to the terms of the consensus adopted in September 2022 in Douala.

"This arrangement will make it possible to protect the foreign exchange assets of extractive sector players, offer them the possibility of having offshore and onshore foreign exchange accounts, relax their repatriation requirements, and simplify repatriation procedures," Beac Governor Abbas Mahamat Tolli explained. The authority however specified that these were only provisional measures, the time for the companies to comply with the initial arrangements applicable to other economic agents. This means that given the importance of extractive activities (oil, gas, precious metals, etc.) in the region, full implementation of the regulations should help to consolidate the external position of the States in the long run.

The Beac note shows that the repatriation of foreign currency for oil and mining companies only began in October 2022, whereas it was scheduled for January 2022. This delay can be attributed to the central bank, which only released the application texts specific to the sector between February and July 2022.

Moreover, there is still no clear map of the retrocession by companies of funds dedicated to the rehabilitation of mining sites after exploitation. At the end of negotiations with the companies, parties agreed that there would be a three-year delay starting from January 1, 2022, for the companies concerned with repatriating these assets, which were then held in offshore accounts.

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