* Douala Seaport Witnesses 200% Tax Increase
* Airports 150%
By Joe DingaPefok
There is growing fear in Cameroon, especially among the impoverished masses that 2018 willbe an economically difficult year than 2017.
The fear is emanating from the fact that Government has surreptitiously increased several taxes in the 2018 Finance Law, especially indirect taxes in a bid to raise money for the 2018 State Budget.
Economic analysts in Douala are already warning about a loominginflation in the market, especially on importedproducts.
Tax To Enter Douala Port
Since 2004, after the Douala Port reforms, a tax was instituted for persons entering the Port, but who are notpersonnel of the port.
So importers, exporters, transporters, clearing agents, duckers and members of the public who had to enter the Port, had to buy a ticket at theentrance before gaining accessinto the Port.
The tax was FCFA 300, but last year it was raised to FCFA 450.
Even though many people complained about the 50 percent increaselast year, things are going to be worst this year as the tax has increased from FCFA 450 to FCFA 1,789.
Also, the tax for each truck entering the Douala Port to carry goods has increased by over 200 percent.
Last year, most of the trucks entering the Douala Port were charged less than FCFA 5,000, but his year, the tariff hasincreased tooverFCFA 20,000.
The 2018 taxes for persons and heavy duty vehicles entering the Douala Port are stillto go into force. But the Syndicates of Transporters that transport goodsat the Port have already protested against the tax increase.
The transporters’ syndicateshave called on Port Authority of Douala, PAD, to review the new tariffs.
But the PAD management has been firmedthat the new tariffscannot be reviewed because Government badly needs money.
The Post hasleant that the AirportTax in Cameroonhas also been increased by 150 percent.
For over 20 years, the Airport Tax in Cameroon was FCFA 10,000, but Government has now raised the tax to FCFA 25,000.
Transfer Of Taxes To Customers
Meanwhile, economic analysts have warned that the various tax increments willbe transferredto consumers in the form of increase in prices of products in the market.
For example, transporters and clearing agents at the Douala Port, will likely transfer the huge sums they pay to enter the Port to importers and exporters.
Importerswill on their part add transportation and clearing agents’ costs to the wholesalers, who will thenshift the costs to retailers and retailersto the consumers through the increase in the prices of the products.
Observers are worried that such exorbitant taxes will not only kill business in Cameroon, but that it will led to rampant corruption and tax evasion.
Luxurious Life Style Of Senior Gov’t Officials
Thetax increments have been triggered by Government drive to raise funds for the 2018 fiscal year.
This is coming at a time when the country is facing serious economic challenges; worsen by the drop in the prices of oil in the international market.
PresidentBiya hadprescribed a reduction in Government expenditures, including a cut inthe luxurious life style of members of Government.
Observers are unanimous that if Ministers and other senior Government officials can reduce reckless spending of State funds, much money will be savedand that the Government would not need to increase taxes, especially those that will end up being paid by the masses.