The idea of creating the Free Industrial Zone Regime in Cameroon appeared during the 90s, with the will of the public authorities to offer the best investment ground designed as the active seed economic growth, resource development and social progress for a developing nation. In its implementation, the Cameroonian Government has sought the technical assistance of USAID, which already had a lot of experience in this field, for having participated in the creation of many free zones in the world. With the promulgation of Ordinance No. 90/001 of 29 January 1990 ratified by Law No. 90/023 of 10 August 1990 and its implementing decree No. 51 / MINDIC / IG1 of 28/12/90 which devote the creation of the Free Zone Regime in Cameroon,
The National Office of Free Industrial Zones (ONZFI) is the body responsible for supervising and administering the program of Industrial Free Zones in Cameroon. ONZFI operates as a multi-service agency capable of dispatching investment approvals, customs procedures and responding quickly to investor needs in order to ensure the sound management and execution of the IFZ program. For this purpose, he is responsible for:
– receive and examine applications for the status of promoter of an industrial free zone, free zone enterprise or industrial franc point;
– deliver, within a period of 30 days , all permits, licenses or other authorizations to developers or operators and applicants ;
– assist investors at all stages of the process of creating and implementing activities.
The Free Zone Regime
The Cameroon Free Zone Regime is one of the most progressive and extensive in the world.
This program opens up new economic spaces and presents many opportunities to invest in the country. This Plan is applicable throughout the national territory. It does not only allow the creation of “Industrial Free Zones”, but also that of “Free Points”; This is a particularly important asset in a country like Cameroon, with abundant natural resources and sustainable agriculture.
Benefits of the Cameroon Free Zone Regime
– streamlined procedures for customs and investment approval;
– total and perpetual exemption from all taxes and customs duties;
– total exemption from tax during the first ten years, and thereafter, application of a flat rate of 15% on the annual profit;
– unlimited carry forward of losses from previous years;
– freedom to open accounts in foreign currency;
– freedom to repatriate the entire capital and profits of the enterprise-
– liberal policy of granting work visas for foreigners;
– exemption for price control and margins;
– promotion of financing and development by the private sector of industrial facilities and infrastructure.
These incentives are among the most attractive, not only in Africa but also worldwide. Aware of the inherent strengths of the private sector, the Government of Cameroon has decided to entrust the latter with a decisive role in the development, financing and management of the Regime and the Free Industrial Zones.
Thus, it created a special administrative unit with a majority representation of the private sector and responsible for all regulatory aspects of the Plan.
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