Yaoundé - 13 April 2024 -
Public management

Cameroon targets illegal warehouse practices to protect customs revenue

Cameroon targets illegal warehouse practices to protect customs revenue
  • Comments   -   Wednesday, 03 April 2024 09:57

(Business in Cameroon) - In a memo issued on March 28, 2024, Cameroon’s Director General of Customs, Fongod Edwin Nuvaga, reaffirmed the ban on clearing non-vehicle goods stored in private vehicle warehouses. Nuvaga noted that goods other than vehicles are being cleared from these warehouses, which are exclusively approved for vehicles. According to the Director General, this practice not only distorts the rules for the domiciliation of customs operations but also leads to budgetary losses and could entrench bad practices.

The customs authority finds it challenging to estimate the financial losses caused by this issue. However, to address it, the customs department plans to conduct unannounced inspections of vehicle warehouses to ensure compliance with regulations. Fines will also be imposed for any infractions discovered.

Let’s note that this situation dates back to the 2018 finance law. "For the past six years, major importers have been able to bring vehicles into Cameroon, store them in their warehouses until potential customers purchase them, and then clear the customs on their behalf. This arrangement allows importers to have significant financial leverage because they do not pay customs duties and taxes at the border," explains Guy Innocent Diffouo, head of the legislation unit at the General Directorate of Customs.

According to him, the government introduced the private vehicle warehouse regime to combat smuggling, which resulted in revenue loss. "We noted that a vehicle imported by road from West Africa was cheaper than one imported through ports. After examining the West African model, we found that vehicle warehouse regimes allowed importers to buy vehicles and re-export them without paying tax and customs duties. We understood that these vehicles were cheaper because customs duties were used as an adjustment variable," he says.

However, over time, Diffouo notes, there has been a trend of including non-vehicle goods (such as washing machines, mattresses, etc.) in vehicle containers, which are then transported to these private warehouses exclusively dedicated to vehicles, a practice prohibited by regulations.

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