Friday, February fourteenth, the   UN says at least 22 people have been killed in a village in the Northwest region of Cameroon. Over half of those killed were children. No one has claimed responsibility for Friday’s incident but the opposition parties blame the killing on the government.

MTN Cameroun refunds 1% commission Call-box managers

Between 1st and 6th April 2016, the commissions paid to Call-box operators, a type of retail seller of mobile top-up cards, decreased by 1%, from 5% to 4% only. The mobile top-up sellers had reacted to this cut in their commissions by passing it on to customers, thereby increasing the selling price of mobile top-ups.

Though the situation returned to normalcy about 48 hours later, the reasons for what the call-box operators immediately qualified as a “unilateral” drop in their commission, and which led to the call for demonstration on 15 April 2016, seem quite unclear. Contacted by Investir au Cameroun, a manager of the mobile network operator pointed out a “technical dysfunction” in the platform of the telecom company.

A malfunction which, he specified, “unfortunately occurred at the same time as the protests” from the Call-box managers, who since March 2016 have been trying to secure an increment in their commissions from mobile network operators.

According to this source, contrary to what some think, MTN Cameroun never tried to decrease the commission fees of the Call-box managers, before backtracking when faced with the backlash from the “Call-boxers”, who immediately increased the selling prices of the top-ups. This argument is however refuted by the union of Call-box managers of Cameroon, based on explanations received from the management of MTN Cameroun, during a meeting held on 14 April in Yaoundé, on the day before what turned out to be a rather “modest” demonstration, as confessed by the union members themselves.

They rather explained to us that this cut in our profit margin which started from 1st April, was the result of the application of the excise duty (on electronic communications and internet, Ed.) established by the government” in the 2016 Finance bill, explains Jean Pierre Babayak, President of the Union of Delegates and Salesmen Distributing Telecommunications Products in Cameroon.

To support his argument, this union executive brings out the minutes of the meeting held with the management of MTN Cameroun in the Central region. It reads: “Concerning the reduction of the discount which took place from 1 to 6 April 2016, MTNC has applied the tax on rebates on purchases, but after consulting with its top management, it returned to the previous situation and found another source to meet the tax requirements. All money withheld during this period has been paid back”.


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