Investors desirous to invest in Cameroon usually search for investment incentives in Cameroon in order to properly analyze their cost and profit margin. Investment incentives in Cameroon were regulated by the investment law in Cameroon of November 1990 as amended by the 2002 law. But with the need of the government to boost the economy taking into consideration that the previous law did not meet the objective to attract investors as envisaged the law on private investment incentives in Cameroon was promulgated in April 2013. This law repealed the former investment law in Cameroon. The recent law on investment incentives in Cameroon has created an environment for private investments be it by natural or corporate persons to operate under a more profitable business climate and reduced risks. Business incentives in Cameroon have encouraged the influx of investors into the Cameroon economy hence leading to sustainable economic growth. Investment incentives in Cameroon are structured per the law on private investment incentives in Cameroon of April 2013 into Fiscal and custom incentives on the one part and Administrative and Financial incentives on the other part. This investment incentives policy regulates private investment incentives in Cameroon. An investment incentive is a government implemented incentive policy aimed to encourage investors into its domestic market or to promote the expansion of existing businesses. Investment incentives in Cameroon have created an environment that enables foreign businesses to operate and decrease risks.
PRIVATE INVESTMENT INCENTIVES IN CAMEROON
The investment law in Cameroon otherwise known as the law on private investments in Cameroon was aimed to fulfill the agenda of the government of Cameroon to attain economic emergence by the year 2035. With this government agenda, the encouragement of startups has been at the fore to benefit from these investment incentives due to the fact that capital availability has been a very big challenge to most start-up businesses in Cameroon. Investment incentives in Cameroon take the form of direct subsidies, corporate income tax credits, etc. that compensate investors for their capital costs. Business incentives in the private sector of Cameroon are operational under the following conditions;
- Employ during the operational phase and according to the size of the enterprise and sector a Cameroonian. The scope of planned investment should be between 5.000.000fcfa and 25.000.000fcfa.
- Annual exports of 10% of turn over, net of taxes, use local natural resources of 10% to 25% of the value of inputs, contribute to value-added of 10% to 30% of turn over net of taxes.
The law on investment incentives in Cameroon is applicable to Cameroonian or foreign natural or legal persons, whether or not established in Cameroon, conducting business therein or holding shares in Cameroonian companies with a view to encouraging private investment and boosting national production.
BUSINESS INCENTIVES IN CAMEROON
Investment incentives in Cameroon have been instituted to boost the business climate for investors in Cameroon. In this light, the government of Cameroon in a bid to boost the economy has set out priority sectors for business incentives in Cameroon. These sectors include but not limited to;
- The development of agriculture, fisheries and animal livestock activities
- The development of tourism and leisure
- The development of social ecology and social housing etc.
The law does not apply to investments in sectors governed by special instruments, in particular, the upstream oil, mining and gas sectors as well as those under the general partnership contract regime.
TYPES OF INCENTIVES
The law on private investment incentives in Cameroon enumerated two types of incentives as illustrated below;
1. TAX AND CUSTOMS INCENTIVE
This type of investment incentive in Cameroon applies to the establishment and operational phase of the investment.
The benefits of this phase do not exceed 5 years from the date of issuance of the approval. These incentives include;
- Exemption from stamp duty on establishment or capital increase
- Exemption from stamp duty on the ease if immovable property is used exclusively for professional purposes that form an integral part of the investment programme
- Exemption from transfer taxes on the acquisition of immovable property, land and building essential for the implementation of the investment programme
- Exemption from stamp duty on contracts for the supply of equipment and construction of buildings and installations essential for the implementation of their investment programme.
The exemptions granted in this phase will not exceed 10 years and according to the scale of investment and expected economic return, the exemptions from or reductions of payment applicable to taxes, duties and other fees will touch on the following aspects;
- Corporate tax
- Tax on profit
- Stamp duty on loans, borrowings, overdrafts, guarantees, corporate capital repayment, and liquidation or any transfer of activities, real profit ownership or usufruct, lease, and shares
- Tax on income from movable assets during the distribution of income in the form of dividends or other forms to be specified in the agreement etc.
2. FINANCIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE INCENTIVE
According to the investment incentives regulation, Investors shall be subject to the exchange regime of the Republic of Cameroon. Subject to the fulfilment of all obligations incumbent on the investor particularly related to the exchange rate regime of the Republic of Cameroon and the tax legislation, the following benefits will be awarded;
- The right to open in Cameroon and abroad local and foreign currency accounts and to carry out transactions on such accounts
- The right to freely keep funds acquired or borrowed abroad and to freely use such funds
- The right to directly pay abroad non-resident suppliers of goods and services essential for the conduct of business
- Free transfer of dividends and proceeds from the sale of shares in case of disinvestment.
Investment incentives in Cameroon are very profitable and important for start up business and projects. It helps to reduce expenditure during the early stages of the venture.