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Octroi de mer : Necessary reform

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Octroi de mer : Necessary reform

98 million USD for Mayotte municipalities

The octroi de mer (overseas customs duty), a tax system benefiting overseas communities, is under scrutiny following a report by the Court of Auditors published this Thursday, March 7, 2024, urging its transformation.

The octroi de mer has been in Mayotte since 2014 as an ancient tax system in the French Overseas Territories. Under this system, the Department, like other overseas communities, determines the percentage of the octroi on imports across various product categories at its discretion. In Mayotte, products such as alcohol, tobacco, electronic goods, and cars are subject to heavy taxation. There is also an internal octroi, primarily applicable to large companies, which accounts for 3 % of the total octroi in Mayotte.

This tax system constitutes a significant source of revenue for the communities. Due to its population, Mamoudzou receives the largest share, augmented by the Regional Fund for Development and Employment. The Department also receives approximately a quarter of the total revenue. At the same time, Customs, as the system’s central component, retains 1.5 % along the way.

Nicolas Péhau, president of the Regional Courts of Auditors of Réunion and Mayotte, clarifies that the purpose of the publicly released report is to scrutinize « the effectiveness and efficiency of a public policy. Is there a result? Can it be evaluated? Does it affect the lives of users? » The report, jointly authored by the Court of Auditors and the regional chambers, spans 300 pages. Pierre Moscovici, president of the former, unequivocally describes the system as « running out of steam. » Several drawbacks are highlighted, including the impact of the octroi de mer on the high cost of living in the overseas territories.

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