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Cameroon introduces fees for real estate professionals, sparks concerns

Cameroon introduces fees for real estate professionals, sparks concerns
  • Comments   -   Tuesday, 23 January 2024 15:32

(Business in Cameroon) - As of January 1, 2024, the acquisition of a real estate promoter's approval, real estate agent's professional card, and condominium syndic card in Cameroon now come with respective fees of CFA1.5 million, CFA1 million, and CFA250,000, per Article 30 of the ongoing 2024 budget law. The annual renewal fees for these documents are set at CFA1 million, CFA500,000, and CFA200,000.

Initially requiring yearly renewals, the law has been contested by Alain Moungang, President of the Association of Real Estate Promoters in Cameroon (Apic). Moungang insists that per the new measure co-drafted with Apic, renewals for approvals or professional cards are intended for a five-year cycle. He highlights that authorities have provided assurances regarding a possible reassessment of the renewal frequency.

Individuals must now pay these specified amounts to practice as real estate professionals in Cameroon. Alain Moungang emphasizes that previously, "approval was lifelong and free for real estate promoters. Only the professional cards for real estate agents and condominium syndics were renewable without fees every five years." The law of January 10, 1997, relating to real estate promotion, and the Prime Minister's decree of November 2, 2007, outlining the application conditions of the law, did not provide specific amounts for the issuance of approvals and professional cards.

This new measure aligns with the government's aim to increase non-tax revenues, addressing the decline in oil revenues. The 2024 budget law anticipates oil revenues of CFA809.5 billion, a decrease of CFA34 billion compared to the 2023 budget. Meanwhile, non-tax revenue projections stand at CFA315.5 billion, marking an increase of CFA46.2 billion from the previous year.

Alain Moungang suggests that this move will also combat "players who are corrupting the real estate sector". He points out that "of the 265 accredited real estate promoters in Cameroon, fewer than 40 possess land titles (a document required for approval applications)." He urges the government to establish a monitoring brigade to track down dishonest actors in the sector. However, it is not ruled out that the introduction of fees for obtaining or renewing approval or professional cards in the real estate sector may impact rental prices in the major cities of the country (Douala and Yaoundé), which are grappling with a housing shortage.

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