Environment & Climate ChangeNews

Cameroon To Increase Duty On Timber Products To Discourage Importation

Cameroon’s Ministry of Finance has announced that in order to discourage the importation of wooden furniture and encourage local production, the government would, during the 2021 fiscal year, impose certain measures such as an increase in import duty for goods notably in the forestry sector.

Unimpeachable sources that elected for anonymity for fear of reprisals told HumAngle on Friday that a 25 per cent increase on excise duty for “wooden furniture and wooden objects such as toothpicks as well as natural and plastic imported flowers” would be imposed during the 2021 fiscal year.

A reputable source told HumAngle that if this measure becomes effective, it would be the first of its kind because the importation of these goods which can be locally produced gulps billions of FCFA from the national gross domestic product (GDP) annually.

The Ministry of Finance reveals that in effect, during the first quota of 2020, Cameroon spent 190.6 billion FCFA (about $380 million) for the importation of 1,089,801 tons of this wooden furniture, toothpicks and flowers.

Of this quantity, 2,161 tons were of wooden furniture which cost 1.4 billion FCFA (about $2.8 million).

In order to encourage local industries, the Ministry of Finance envisages instituting two relaxation fiscal measures in favour of the forestry sector in 2021. 

This would notably include the “reduction by 3 to 4 per cent the rate of tax on tree felling in favour of forestry companies which have a certificate in the durable management of forests; the monthly payment of forestry taxes in order to improve the income of forestry enterprises.”

All this would sound like music in the ears of the ordinary Cameroonians who consume the goods and services envisaged in the expected fiscal innovations.

“The problem there is that in Cameroon there are a plethora of laws that end up just on paper and are never equitably executed to the benefit of one and all. 

“The laws are always twisted to benefit but the high ups to the detriment of the average citizens whom the laws were intended to benefit in the first place”, opines social scientist Gilbert Etissong in Douala.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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