(Business in Cameroon) - In a briefing note signed on January 23, Louis Paul Motaze (photo), Cameroon’s Minister of Finance (Minfi), encouraged the business community to maintain a “spirit of dialogue” and to use public-private consultation frameworks “for the consideration and resolution of problems that may arise in their respective activities.”
As indicated by Louis Paul Motaze, the note is a reaction to the correspondence sent to the head of state, Paul Biya, on January 16, by the president of the Groupement inter-patronal du Cameroun (Gicam), Célestin Tawamba. The letter, which was leaked to the press and on social media, had its subject as : "a confirmed breakdown in relations between the director-general of taxes (DGI) and companies.”
In this correspondence, the president of Gicam accuses the Director-General of Taxes of going against the President of the republic’s "high directives" aimed at restoring the country's economy. Modest Mopa is doing so by taking actions “that could undermine relations between the state and the private sector and irreparably compromise investment and business development,” Célestin Tawamba wrote.
In particular, the Director-General of Taxes is criticized for “his inability to engage in dialogue and to deal with contradiction, the refusal to issue administrative documents which has led to considerable delays in making investments, his inability to design a short and medium-term fiscal policy likely to boost growth while ensuring an appreciable level of revenue for the State, and his lack of knowledge of the reality of the business.”
In its economic and financial programme concluded with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Cameroon pledged to increase the annual rate of fiscal pressure by an average of 0.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) between 2017 and 2019.
According to Louis Paul Motaze, “this objective of maximizing the collection of tax and customs revenues (may) present a potential for conflict with the various taxpayers.” Aware of this, “the government is resolutely committed to a perspective of permanent and fruitful dialogue with the private sector,” the minister indicates.
“To this end, the Prime Minister is leading regular discussions with the private sector in the Cameroon Business Forum. Similarly, frameworks for consultation with the private sector were created by the Finance Minister in 2019 and are very often held in order to seek ways to reach consensus on the various problems that may arise,” the Finance Minister assures. For Louis Paul Motaze, Gicam should state its issues during these “consultation frameworks.”