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NATIONAL OFFICE FOR INDUSTRIAL FREE ZONES
NOIFZ

Contact National Office For Industrial Free Zones
Po Box 925 Bonanjo - Douala
Cameroon
Tel: (237) 43 33 43
(237) 43 33 44
Fax: (237) 43 33 17
onzfi@camnet.cm
NATIONAL OFFICE FOR INDUSTRIAL FREE ZONES.

NOIFZ, the national office for industrial free zones is the non-profit regulatory body established to oversee and administer Cameroon’s industrial free zone program. As a private sector-dominated body, NOIFZ possesses the capability to truly operate as a “one-stop shop”, expediting investment approvals and customs procedures, and responding quickly to investor’ needs order to ensure the IFZ program’s effective management and implementation.

NOIFZ has the authority and responsibility to:

  • Receive and review applications for designation as an Industrial Free Zone (IFZ) developer, IFZ enterprise, or SIFZ enterprise;

  • Grant all needed licences, permits and other authorisations to enterprises or developers granted IFZ designation;

  • Assist investors, in conjunction with the Investment Promotion Center, in all stages of the business formation and establishment process.

    Cameroon - Winne.com

    CAMEROON’S INDUSTRIAL FREE ZONE REGIME

    Under Cameroon’s industrial free zone law, firms exporting at least 80 percent of their output quality for an extensive package of fiscal, regulatory, and customs incentives.

    In addition, unlike many export processing zone programs, industrial estate developers and operators in Cameroon are also eligible for this same package for benefits.

    The free zone regime is applicable to all locations throughout the country. The regime allows for the establishment of “industrial park” free zones, as well as for the creation of “single factory” or special industrial free zones (SIFZS) anywhere in Cameroon. The opportunity to establish single factory zones is granted to agro-processing firms to enable them to locate near the source of their raw materials.

    Similarly, a wide range of activities is eligible, including typical manufacturing and assembly operation, as well as financial and information processing services.

    Cameroon - Winne.com

    SUMMARY OF KEY PROVISIONS OF CAMEROON FREE ZONE REGIME

    REQUIEREMENT FOR AN ENTERPRISE TO ENTER UNDER THE FREE ZONE REGIME

    All enterprise which

  • Produce goods and services exclusively for export or for sale to buyers who are resident outside of Cameroon

  • Produce goods and services, which will not have deleterious effects on the environment.

    Developers and operators of industrial free zones are also considered to be free zone enterprises and are entitled to the package of incentives provided under the Free Zone Law.

    TYPES OF FREE ZONE DESIGNATIONS

    A firm qualifying under the free zone regime may install it within:

  • An industrial free zone, (i e, an industrial park which has received free zone designation);

  • A special industrial free zone, (i.e. a factory-specific industrial free zone for enterprises which must locate adjacent to their source of raw materials).

    Cameroon - Winne.com

    INCENTIVES AND BENEFITS PROVIDED UNDER THE FREE ZONE REGIME

    Streamlined administrative procedures

  • Streamlined administrative process with a one-stop shop having the authority to issue the sole licence required to establish and operate a free zone enterprise within 30 days of the request.
  • Streamlined, on-site customs inspection procedures and immediate transfer of goods and services to and from the port of embarkation or debarkation.

    Commercial benefits:

  • Exemption from all licences, authorization and quota restrictions regarding imports and exports.

  • Exemption from all price and margin controls.

  • Possibility to sell a part of annual production to local economy, but subject to all relevant customs duties and taxes.

    Tax concessions:

  • Ten year tax holiday on all taxes.

  • Flat tax of 15% on corporate profits beginning in the eleventh year, continued exoneration on all other taxes for perpetuity.

  • Profit/loss carry forward during tax period.

    Financial transactions concessions.

  • Right to hold foreign exchange (i.e. dollar) accounts in domestic banking system.

  • Exemption from restrictions on the purchase and sale of foreign export exchange and from all currency export taxes.

  • Guaranteed right to transfer abroad all funds earned and invested in Cameroon.

    Trade-Related Concessions:

  • Exemption for all exports and imports from all existing and future direct and/or indirect taxes, duties and imposts.

  • Exemption from the import verification program (i.e. SGS, VERITAS)

  • Exemption of locally purchased inputs from production and sales related taxes.

    Labour-related concessions:

  • Exoneration from the standard wage classification scheme specified in the Labour code. Wages may be set on the basis of productivity and efficiency.

  • Right to freely negotiate contracts between employer and employee.

  • Automatic right for the acquisition of work permits for expatriate workers (not to exceed 20% of the workforce after the fifth year of operation).

  • Right to replace national social security scheme with private plan of equal or better benefits.

    APPLICATION PROCESS

    NOIFZ is the sole agency responsible for receiving and reviewing investment applications for free zone designation under the Cameroonian free zone regime. Investors wishing to apply for designation as a free zone developer / operator or as a free zone or SIFZ enterprise should contact NOIFZ. Completed applications should then be submitted to NOIFZ.
    The information required on the application is similar to that contained in a standard business plan, and includes market and production related information site and location characteristics and estimated employment impact.

    Under the Cameroonian IFZ law, the NOIFZ must review the application within 30 calendar days. Failure to notify the application within the 30 days period will result in automatic approval of the investment. Once an investor receives designation as an IFZ developer or enterprise, no other permits, licences, or approvals are required to commence operations.

    Cameroon - Winne.com

    IFZ INCENTIVES

    Under the Cameroon Industrial Free Zone Act, qualifying firms receive an unsurpassed range of benefits. These incentives rank among the best in the world as a whole, an include:

  • 100 percent tax exemptions of the first ten years, followed by a flat corporate profit tax of 15 percent thereafter;

  • Complete and perpetual exoneration of all customs duties and taxes;

  • No price controls or profits restrictions;

  • No restriction on foreign ownership;

  • Freedom to hold foreign currency account;

  • Free repatriation of profits and capital

  • Flexibility in hiring / firing workers;

  • Liberal expatriate work visas, and,

  • Freedom to operate private zone-based power and telecommunications systems.


  •  Read on  

    You can find the version published in Forbes Global or Far Eastern Economic Review

    World INvestment NEws, 2001. This is the electronic edition of the special country report on Cameroon published in Forbes Global Magazine, October 1st, 2001. Developed by Agencia E.