A surplus FCFA 1.8 billion was mobilised by the Customs Department in the first six months of 2015.The Directorate General of Customs can pride itself of crediting the State coffers with a surplus FCFA 1.8 billion for the first quarter of the 2015 fiscal year. Information from the department reveals that FCFA 347.9 billion is the amount raised as against the projected FCFA 345.8 billion, giving an achievement rate of 101 per cent. The FCFA 347.9 billion recorded as at June 30, 2015 represents an increase in performance by 6 per cent as against FCFA 328.1 billion in 2014 whereby FCFA 319.9 billion was earmarked for mobilisation.
The Directorate General of Customs under the helm of Minette Libom Li Likeng however notes that the amount mobilized is void of the FCFA 19.4 billion that was expected to be collected as revenue from government departments benefitting from deductions at source. The challenge is therefore for customs to redouble efforts with the National Oil Refinery, SONARA, as one of the targets where uncollected customs revenue is evaluated at FCFA 13.7 billion. The Directorate General of Customs however regrets an accumulated debt of FCFA 33.1 billion from the company which according to the Director General of Customs could catapult the institution to an exceptional performance if the amount was duly collected. Notwithstanding, Minette Libom Li Likeng, Director General notes that; “We will not be satisfied with this performance.” She and her team vowed to do better in the second half of the year to sustain the achievements and why not surpass the annual revenue target of FCFA 693 billion as in the 2015 Finance Law, with an increase of FCFA 55 billion from 2014.
The stakes are high with the Cameroon Customs into new development reforms. Refinancing the National Oil Refinery and implementing the three-year contingency plan obliged government to secure loans worth over FCFA 900 billion. The Customs Department, according to its Director General, has as task the efficient collection of duties. The exercise has however met with doom in the northern and eastern part of the country where insecurity persists. The Boko Haram insurgencies in the Far North as well as attacks in the East Central African Republic are hitting hard on the Directorate General as it longs to mobilize resources for the State coffers. The situation is serious with some units with high potential in both regions either closed or in drastic decline in terms of revenue mobilisation for over two years now. This is notably the case with Major Customs Offices in Fotokol Limani in the Far North and Primary Customs Offices in Kentzou and Garoua Boulai in the East Region. Government efforts to turn the tides are paying off with over FCFA 18 million collected as customs duties at the Boukoula Customs Post in the Far North as against less than FCFA 5 million by May last year.
Combining human and material efforts is the way forward. The tutelage of the Directorate General of Customs, the Ministry of Finance, is looking at ways of partnering with the Ministry of Defence for the use of its Marine Services. The agreement once signed will permit the Marine Services of the defence corps to use their equipment and expertise to fight maritime fraud and the influx of contraband goods into the country. 2015 is a year of “Customs Surveillance” in Cameroon. Thus, The World Customs Organisation has challenged Cameroon’s Directorate General of Customs to liaise with other stakeholders for optimal results. “Signing agreements with other stakeholders is therefore one of the strategies to uphold and improve the management of goods at seaports, airports and borders,” Minette Libom Li Likeng, told the press in Yaounde on May 31, 2015 during the quarterly evaluation meeting of central and devolved services of the Directorate General of Customs.