On 29 April 2022, the Minister of Finance, Louis Paul Motazé, signed a decision fixing the taxable values applicable to the importation of refined petroleum products in guise to avoid price increases at the pump.
According to the said decision, these values are respectively 169, FCFA 314,591 and FCFA 342,933 per metric ton of super, gasoil and paraffin, jet fuel and gasoline for aviation. “The said values are valid for a period of six months, renewable if necessary,” the ministerial decision states.
According to sources within the customs directorate of the Ministry of Finance, this decision, taken ‘in the context of the unprecedented increase in the cost of a barrel of oil (Brent) on the international market’, thus enshrines a reduction in the taxable values of petroleum products, the corollary of which is a reduction in customs tariffs payable by importers.
According to sources, the consequence of this decision will be to avoid an explosion of the state subsidy, 672 billion CFA francs, according to the Ministry of Commerce intended to support the prices of petroleum products at the pump during the year 2022, on the one hand, and to avoid an increase in prices for consumers, on the other.
Indeed, we learn that the Cameroon State Finance Law for the year 2022 was drawn up on the basis of an oil price of 61 dollars per barrel. Due to the post-Covid period and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, this price has risen above 100 dollars, causing a rise in the price of refined products.
While this will benefit the country’s customs revenues, which will increase due to the higher taxable value purchase price of refined products, it will have the perverse effect of blowing the state subsidy envelope aimed at keeping petroleum product prices in the country unchanged, customs officials explain.
“It is a decision similar to the one taken a few months ago, which prescribed an 80% reduction in the value of freight to be taken into account in the calculation of the customs value of goods imported by sea. It was intended to reduce the extra costs incurred by importers as a result of the increase in the cost of sea freight,” compares a customs official.
Clearly, through the decision signed on 29 April 2022 by the Minister of Finance, the Cameroonian government is giving up additional customs revenue, in order to ensure better control of the overall subsidy envelope that should enable it to avoid increasing the price of petroleum products at the pump.