Cameroon: Large firms captured 86% of EPA tax gains in 5 years
Business in Cameroon | 25th February 2022
By Sylvain Andzongo
The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Cameroon and the European Union benefited large enterprises the most, according to customs authorities. Those enterprises are mostly multinationals operating in the brewing, cement, chemical, and agribusiness industries.
The said partnership agreement consecrates the progressive opening of the Cameroonian market to 80% of products imported from the European Union. Between 2016 and 2020, thanks to the agreement, XAF32.4 billion of tax gains were generated. Large enterprises benefited from 86% of those tax gains, against 13% for medium-sized companies and just 1% for the remaining beneficiaries.
Specifically, the tariff dismantling introduced by the agreement allowed large enterprises to capture XAF27.9 billion of tax gains, against XAF4.2 billion for medium-sized firms and just XAF331 million for small Cameroonian operators.
Over the said period, 80% of the 14,580 imports that benefited from the provisions of that partnership agreement were carried out by large enterprises. Medium-sized companies accounted for 18% of those imports against 2% for small operators.
According to the customs authorities, 48% of the 707 importers that benefited from the Economic Partnership Facility were medium-sized companies while 28% were large enterprises. Small importers represent less than a quarter of the overall number.
The figures published by customs authorities are not surprising. They confirm a trend noted by the employers’ grouping GICAM two years earlier. “The least we can say is that for the time being, large enterprises and the subsidiaries of multinationals are the main beneficiaries of the EPA. Conversely, SMEs, end consumers, and job seekers are not yet reaping the rewards of that agreement,” the GICAM wrote in its newsletter in October 2019.