According to recent UNDP statistics, SMEs in Cameroon contribute to 36% of GDP and represent 99.2% of the national network of enterprises. While important, these SMEs remain fragile and vulnerable because of many factors that reduce their performance and competitiveness, such as taxation, access to credit, unfair competition, and many others. Based on this observation, GICAM draws the conclusion that there is no strong economy without structured SMEs. This is the main reason that led to the organisation of the first edition of the Cameroon SME Forum held on October 24, 2017 at GICAM headquarters under the theme “For better protected, better performing, more competitive SMEs “.
The forum was structured around three issues:
- The protection of the Cameroonian SME / SMI in the face of distortions of national and international competition
- Taxation of SMEs: from constraint to competitiveness
- SME financing: which winning strategy?
Jérôme MINLEND, CEO of Cac International, spoke as a panellist expert on the taxation of SMEs. He noted that SMEs are drowning under the weight of taxes hence the existence of an overall levy of 57.7%. He pointed out that SMEs are taxed on common law on the basis of their turnover, which leads to a mismatch between their segmentation and tax regimes. He presented the limits of the tax policy of the Chartered Management Centers which does not promote the competitiveness of the SMEs but rather with the objective of removing them from the informal one. Regarding the tax incentives provided by the law of 18 April 2013 setting incentives for private investment in Cameroon, Jérôme MINLEND noted the restriction on SMEs because of the high amount of investment and pointed out the shortcomings of the restraint mechanism to the source that puts SMEs in a situation of structural credit, thus creating cash tensions.
Subsequently, it made recommendations to participate in the competitiveness of SMEs: the elimination of differences in tax treatment between SMEs in the same category through a harmonisation of the provisions of the General Tax Code to the segmentation of SMEs, the reduction of prepayment and down-payment rates for SMEs, the VAT exemption for SMEs falling within the tax burden and the simplified tax, the introduction of stratified incentives according to the turnover of SEs and MEs under the full assessment system, the extension of the turnover entitling to eligibility for Chartered Management Centers and allowing broad membership of SMEs, the removal of withholding tax, etc.
Through the voice of GICAM, we hope to see our different recommendations being adapted in the next Finance Law.
Find the full presentation of Jérôme MINLEND.