There are plans by the government of Cameroon to begin accepting the payment of customs duties and other related taxes via mobile money services. This recommendation has been made by President Paul Biya himself as the central African nations continue its drive towards full digitization.

In a circular letter issued last month which gives orientation on how Cameroon’s 2021 state budget should be prepared, the 87-year-old President also asked the government to prepare a budget that prioritizes the digital economy through the putting in place of more telecommunications network infrastructure - the objective being to ensure progress towards achieving emergence through structural transformation of the country’s economy.

Mobile money payments will optimize Cameroon's customs revenue

“For Customs revenue, optimal mobilization should be sought through the systematization of electronic payments which should extend to the payment of customs duties and taxes via mobile money,” President Biya indicated in the letter which was addressed to the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and Governors of the country’s ten administrative regions.

The main objective of this modernization of the Customs duties and taxes payment system is to simplify, broaden and secure revenue collection channels as well as intensify efforts in the fight against tax evasion and fraud, President Biya explained.

In Cameroon, the use of mobile money is increasingly gaining ground especially in this era of COVID-19 where physical meetings for business interactions are at an all-time low. Mobile money users have the possibility of paying their utility bills, school fees, or registration fees for certificate and competitive entrance examinations using mobile money platforms. E-commerce transactions have also been facilitated through this payment method, and are said to be witnessing a boom.

Innovations in Cameroon’s customs

The imminent introduction of Customs duties and tax payment via mobile money in Cameroon will come to add to a string of recent innovations embarked on by the country’s Customs service which contributed XAF 840 billion (about $ 1.5 billion) to the nation’s state budget in 2019.

In June, the Cameroon customs put into use a new information technology system which is intended to ease difficulties related to clearance formalities at the country’s customs posts. The South Korean technology known as the Cameroon Customs Information System (CAMSIS) comes to replace an old system (SYDONIA) which had been in use since 2007.

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