Experts meeting in Yaoundé have said the current regulatory framework does not create favorable conditions for the growth of small businesses. The business thought leaders were speaking at a business leadership symposium organized by the Nakfu Policy Institute on the 27th of April 2021.
Holding under the topic ”debate forum to more than 50 participants from various fields of expertise and allowed them to build new relationships and strengthen existing ones. Participants included government officials, speakers, entrepreneurs, humanitarian organizations, non-governmental organizations, academics and researchers, students, the general public, and civil society actors. It served as a unique occasion to better inform citizens and government officials on the reforms needed for an emerging Cameroon by 2035 but also the debate forum created a platform for professional development and career advice.
The main objective of the Nkafu Public Debates was to provide a platform for Cameroonian and African high-level experts the opportunity to objectively address the conditions required to succeed in investment in Cameroon. It explored the necessity and role of regulatory norms on the success of new businesses in Cameroon and had as main question, “Should the government relax regulatory norms to facilitate the profitability and growth of new businesses in Cameroon?’’
A Nkafu Policy Institute research says under its framework of the Cameroon Business Forum (CBF) over the past 10 years, Cameroon has undertaken several reforms to improve its business environment and to attract investors. However, there are many bottlenecks to enhancing the business environment in Cameroon to promote business creation. The research says while efforts are made to ease starting a business in Cameroon, there remains a fundamental question about the profitability and survival of these businesses.
Certifications and standardization norms which are among some of the regulatory policies needed in every formal economy for the protection of consumers, seem to affect the profitability and survival of new businesses in Cameroon , the research further reveals . Many business owners report being handicapped by the standards imposed on them. The survival and profitability of businesses in Cameroon are plagued by the requirement to obtain an authorization or homologation before any innovations and marketing which is a form of closure of the market and public space.
For example, a young entrepreneur who invents a simple oximeter to allow patients to measure their blood pressure independently must submit his product to the authorization of the Ministry in charge of public health. To transform seasonal fruit into organic fruit juice, you must undergo a series of costly certifications. Also, the Tanty brand, one of the few growing companies in the food industry, had preferred to close its peanut oil production line rather than invest in standardization, the research says.
It concludes that, the regulation framework seems to be a discouraging factor to entrepreneurs in Cameroon, considering it is extremely difficult for some to meet up with these standards or certifications in terms of cost. This situation could also partially explain why 80% of businesses die before 5 years in the country.
The debates thus provided an opportunity for experts to examine Cameroon’s past performance in the Doing Business Index, critically assess the current legislation as regards business creation in the country, understand the benefits and challenges of standardization norms and certification of products and to also identify and propose policy recommendations to ease business creation in the country as well as the profitability and the survival of these businesses
The debates examined Cameroon’s past performance in the DBI and the measures taken to improve on this ranking with their impact. It also assessed the legislation as regards business creation effected with explanations on the procedures, cost, and time provided; benefits and challenges of standardization norms and certification of products in Cameroon and their impact on new ventures understood and proposed reforms to ease business creation in the country as well as the profitability and the survival of businesses identified.
Experts noted that youths get into business ventures without making informed decisions on documentation, cost procedures and tax systems. The experts said, incubators need to go beyond capacity building but also to pass on the right information needed for young entrepreneurs to succeed.
Source: Bantu Voices