Cameroon 33% phone tax: What happens if you have a dual-SIM phone? Will those with a dual-SIM device pay twice the 33% tax levied on all new in case the customs fees were not paid by importers in accordance with the 2019 finance law? Read this article to find out.
Of recent, the Cameroonian Minister of Ministers of Post and Telecommunications Libom Likeng and that of Finance announced a press release concerning the enforcement of the law that has to do with the digital collection of customs duties on phones and tablets.
And according to this press release, all new phones operated in Cameroon as of Thursday, October 15 will be levied a 33% tax in case the customs fees were not paid by importers in accordance with the 2019 finance law.
The people’s reaction to the Cameroon 33% phone tax
Of course many people will go nuts. This type of tax is really kind of strange to Cameroonians and the time choosen to impliment it.
With the Covid-19 crises around and all the drop in economic activities coupled with the Anglophone crisis, many still find it difficult to cope. And now the government implements a tax on mobile devices. Coupled to that, the amount to pay is significantly high.
Eevn though Cameroonians have requested this tax levied on new phones be stopped, the Minister of telecomunication says nothing will change.
Some cameroonians have already experienced this tax issue and many are expressing themselves on social media with the #EndPhoneTax and #EndPhoneTaxBrutally hashtags.
How the Cameroon 33% phone tax payment will work
When you put your SIM card in a new phone, the IMEI number is been picked up and you sent. You will then receive a message indicating if you have to pay the 33% tax based on the price of your device.
You will have the option to pay all the tax at once of pay as you go. Meaning if you do not have the complete amount, they will keep deducting your airtime bit by bit untill you finish paying the tax.
Moderate multimedai feature phones and smartphone owner will pay tax ranging from 3,000 XAF to 25,000 XAF wheras highclass phones like some Samsung and iPhones will be taxed ranging from 25,000XAF to 200,000XAF!
Another big issue is the deduction of 200XAF when you download an application.
On the other hand, in case the customs fees were paid buy the merchant, customers won’t be charged the 33% tax.
Now the big problem will be a increase in the price of phones in case the tax are paid to the custom service.
As for foreigners, the won’t pay the 33% phone tax if they use their home SIM on roaming. But if they are to use a Caeroonian network with theor device, the will have to inform the Customs prior to their coming to Cameroon and will be atxed only during their period of stay.
What happens if you have a dual-SIM phone?
Phone dual-SIM phone owners, you will get the tax notice message on the main SIM card (SIM 1). But the bitter thing is that, if you change positions of your SIM cards, you will also get a new message with the second SIM now in the main SIM slot. This is really a hassle!
And what if your device has 3 SIMS? This means once you get a new phone that the customs fees were not paid by importers, you will have to avaoid swapping SIMs!
How Camerronians thing they can avoid this 33% phone tax.
Since the tax is levied using the IMEI number of your device to determine the brand, model and type. Cheap feature phone owners will pay 1,650XAF (33%) tax for a phone sold at say 5,000XAF.
Mnay thing if they can change the IMEI number of their Androids or iPhones to that of such a device, they will be able to avoid the huge 33% phone tax.
Well, it is pretty easy for a technician to do that. But not everyone is a technician and paying a technician to change the IMEI number of your device may also turn out to be costly.
Warning: Changing the IMEI number of a device is illegal. Also, by trying to change your device IMEI, you may end up bricking it.
Our thoughts on this
It is obvious the government implements this tax to reduce fraud as many importers have a way to avaoid tax. But the big problem is that the consumers will now be the ones to suffer.
Maybe with the Idea of changing IMEI numbers of new phones to that of a cheap phone, the government might decide to give this a second thought. That said, we have our fingers crossed and look forward to see the outcome.