The Bank of Central African States BEAC, has called for a law to prohibit the use of telephone credit as a means of payment in the CEMAC subregion.
BEAC’s reaction comes as a result of telecommunication operators and the population of CEMAC member countries using airtime as official means of payment instead of the local currency the FCFA.
Among the countries concerned, CHAD’s case has particularly been alarming. Some people and organizations in the country were noticed to have been using airtime as a legal tender in business transactions instead of the official currency the FCFA.
BEAC has also cited the case of some member countries that were planning to use airtime last year as a means of payment to collect unpaid customs duties on imported mobile phones. For instance, Cameroon’s decision last year to start collecting customs duties for imported mobile phones through a government platform that could be used to deduct users’ airtime to settle unpaid customs duties on imported mobile phones. This plan was suspended following a public outcry.
Faced with this prevailing situation, the Governor of the Bank of Central African States BEAC, has stressed that airtime can only be used for telephony services, further indicating that regulations should be updated to prohibit these practices.