Implementing budgetary and taxation reforms in Cameroon

Project details

Title: Support Programme to the Modernisation of Public Finances III (PAMFIP III)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Cameroon
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Finance (MINFI)
Overall term: 2020 to 2023

ITC-ATI_conf2017_barenbrock_MG_4593

Context

As a lower-middle-income country (gross domestic product (GDP) per person stood at 1,349 Euros in 2019), Cameroon faces significant obstacles to its development.
Cameroon's 'Vision 2035' and the National Development Strategy (NDS30) aim to improve the situation of the population. The NDS30 focuses on four pillars: 

  • Structural transformation to improve economic planning; 
  • Developing human capital, particularly in social occupations; 
  • Promoting employment and integrating young people into the economy; 
  • Governance, decentralisation and strategic management of the State.

To achieve these goals, it will be necessary to reform public finances, by introducing results-based budget management and making the planning, programming, budgeting and evaluating of processes more coherent. Additionally, it is important to increase tax revenues. 

So far, the Cameroonian government has not managed to sufficiently implement its development strategy through the national budget. Contrary to programming, adjustments are made to budgetary allocations without transparent documentation and justification. At present, tax revenues in Cameroon are low: according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) they represented 13.1 per cent of the GDP in 2017 and only 110,000 of the approximately 25.9 million inhabitants of the country pay taxes regularly. 

In part, success depends on introducing instruments and methods that enable effective processes both in the management of expenditures and in the administration of taxes.

Objective

Development-oriented budget management is improved. Revenue management and cooperative relations between central and local administrative bodies have become more effective.

Approach

Firstly, the project supports the Ministry of Public Health (MINSANTE) and the Ministry of Decentralization and Local Development (MINDDEVEL) in increasing compliance with regulations, taking into account gender considerations, and development orientation of expenditures. This will enable the priorities previously set in terms of the use of funds to be implemented in the form of essential services and infrastructure for the population, particularly for women. AMBERO Consulting Gesellschaft mbH contributes specifically to this field of action.

Secondly, the project supports the Cameroonian tax administration to carry out transparent and data-based tax audits. Digitalisation of processes through the IT tool FUSION will make the processes more transparent and increase tax revenues. 

Thirdly, the project aims to improve collaboration between the central government and the municipalities in the area of local finances. The municipalities are heavily dependent on the financial resources of the central government and in many cases competencies and responsibilities are not evident and not set out sufficiently. To achieve this aim, PAMFIP III will work in synergy with the Support Programme for Municipal Development (PROMUD II), which operates at the local level, having a direct interaction with the municipalities and the deconcentrated State services.

Results

Since the start of its first phase in 2014, the project has focused on supporting the Ministry of Finance (MINFI) and the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT) to put in place a regulatory framework for more effective and transparent budgeting processes. As core results of the first phase from 2014 to 2017, important reforms of budgeting have been set out by the Prime Minister. Alongside, tools have been developed to facilitate results-based planning and budget programming.

During the second phase from 2017 to 2020, the consistency between the annual budget and the medium-term budget framework has improved significantly. This is evidenced by a sharp decline in the differences between the budgets provided in the budget framework and the budget adopted. 

A management control system was set up in collaboration with MINFI and introduced in MINDDEVEL and the Ministry of Higher Education (MINESUP). This system makes budget management more transparent and brings budget execution in line with the initial planning. 

In order to strengthen tax compliance, the project has strategically supported the digitalisation of tax audit processes. 

In order to digitalise tax audit processes, the IT tool FUSION has been developed to support the Directorate General of Taxation (DGI). It allows its users to analyse the risk of tax fraud in a specific company and identify the need to perform tax audits in medium and large companies. This risk analysis makes it easier to assess what companies need to be audited, and it thus contributes towards improving tax collection. 

As part of the improvement of tax administration, the project focused on the implementation of the modernisation plan of the DGI which resulted, among other things, in setting up the DGI website with up-to-date information for taxpayers. Moreover, an online tax declaration has been introduced for large companies. 

Last update: March 2021

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