Central Africa: Diplomatic Missions Opposed To New Forex Regulation

Business In Cameroon

In its February 2021 working paper, the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) reveals that since March 1st, 2019, when the new exchange regulation became effective in the CEMAC region, it has been under pressure from diplomatic missions that do not want to comply.

Following a working session with the heads of diplomatic missions, the governor of BEAC, Abbas Mahamat Tolli, issued a circular giving room to them in the implementation of the new regulation. For instance, it allows heads of diplomatic missions, diplomats, and people with equivalent status a grace period of three months to provide evidence their foreign currency withdrawals were done because of travel needs. Notwithstanding these provisions, some diplomatic representations still want to avoid the application of that regulation by requesting exemptions when it comes to their withdrawals from the foreign currency accounts opened in banks in the CEMAC region, the central bank explains.

In fact, “it was noted that before the new regulations came into force, diplomatic and consular representations had the latitude to withdraw cash from their foreign currency accounts to cover their needs or to supply the market. A practice that is contrary to the regulations,” BEAC claims.

According to the same source, the regulatory provision that aims to prevent the circulation of any foreign currency in the CEMAC region is misinterpreted by some diplomatic and consular representations accredited in the different CEMAC countries.

For these missions, this provision hinders their proper functioning and is detrimental to their staff. In addition, they refer to the provisions of the Vienna Convention governing diplomatic relations between states to exempt themselves from applying exchange regulations,” the central bank said.

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