Cameroonians started the New Year with a new tax and it was the mobile network operators that sent them a reminder of the particular tax.
That tax is the 0.2% Mobile Money tax, which is expected to be levied on the transfer and withdrawal of money via the platform.
One network provider circulated the following message to subscribers: “Dear valued client, in the application of the Finance Law, starting 01 January 2022, a 0.2% tax is applied to transfer and withdrawals. Thanks for your understanding.”
A leading business news portal, Busines in Cameroon, summarized the tax as follows: “According to the 2022 finance law, the tax applies to transactions carried out through all the traceable technical platforms (like internet, mobile phone, wire order, telex, fax) except for bank transfers and electronic transactions carried out to pay tax and customs duties.
“The tax will also be applied to cash withdrawals from financial institutions or mobile telephony operators,” it added.
On social media, Cameroonians are livid at the tax with the reason that the mobile money component in particular was unfair in many ways.
One of the key voices against the tax is Rebecca Enonchong, a leader in African tech ecosystem, who tweeted as follows: “Can you imagine being charged a tax to withdraw your own cash out of your account? For millions of Cameroonians who hold their money in mobile money wallets, this became a reality on Jan.1.
“This tax is regressive and will slow financial inclusion. #EndMobileMoneyTax. #WeSayNo.”
Arrey Ntui, a security analyst with the Crisis Group also highlighted the draconian nature of the tax via a tweet: “Cameroon should pursue financial inclusion as cost of living skyrockets. The mobile money tax unfairly punishes Cameroon’s poorest people.
“Cheque and bank transfers have no similar tax. Over four million humanitarian aid needers rely mostly on mobile money,” he added.
Below are some reactions on Twitter
Can you imagine being charged a tax to withdraw your own cash out of your account?
For millions of Cameroonians who hold their money in mobile money wallets, this became a reality on Jan.1.
This tax is regressive and will slow financial inclusion#EndMobileMoneyTax #WeSayNo— Rebecca Enonchong (@africatechie) January 2, 2022
I want to send 100,000 F (+ withdrawal fees); that’s 101,800 F.
MTN fees = 300 F
Tax = 0.2% = 203.6 F
TOT = 102,303.6 F
Gets 101,800 F and is taxed 0.2% AGAIN.
MTN Fees = 1,800 F
Tax = 203.6 F
Withdrawable = 99,796.4 F#EndMobileMoneyTax— Sahyuo BAD (@Sahyuo_) January 1, 2022
Government decides to put a tax on Mobile Money withdrawal and sending transactions
Me pic.twitter.com/oqxcakavfs— ONE KIND GUY ???????? ???? (@Tkthereal1) January 1, 2022
The new mobile money tax will especially hit the poorest, unbanked segments of Cameroon society. There is no such tax on wire transfers through banks. And it’s paid twice. Once to send. Once to receive.
And all for what? To pay for government excesses and corruption.— Rebecca Enonchong (@africatechie) January 1, 2022
To imagine that an insensitive government like the one in Yaounde, Cameroun has imposed severe hardship on the citizens then now 0.2% tax on mobile money transactions, This is unacceptable.#end0.2%MOMOtax.— Peter NGOMBA (@ngomba_peter) January 2, 2022
If we knew that our tax money would go to good use, most would not oppose it. But we know how much is squandered, not just in corruption but in inefficiencies. Do we really need 63 ministers? Do we really need 5 ministries for education? Did we really need to host AFCON?— Rebecca Enonchong (@africatechie) January 1, 2022