Does COVID-19 have any impact on private entities/individuals’ relationships with the Public Administration in what concerns meeting deadlines or observing any formalities? To what extent?

Decree 42/2020, whereby a State of Alarm for Health Reasons is declared in Equatorial Guinea, sets forth that Public Administration Services and those of the State Private Sector will continue working as usual and complying with the instructions of the Government and other Bodies with authority for such purpose. In addition, save for the exceptions that we detail below, no specific measure has been adopted to generally suspend any type of deadlines for private entities/individuals to carry out actions vis-à-vis the Public Administration. By combining the aforementioned two circumstances, our best interpretation is that local authorities have reasonable grounds to expect that deadlines continue to be met as usual.

The exceptions to which we make reference above are provided in Decree 43/2020, that sets forth, as measures to support SMC that do not charge for the provision of services to any institution of the Public Sector, that:

  • The deadline to voluntarily pay minimum corporate income tax regarding 2020 is extended until June and is reduced from 3% to 1.5% until 30 September 2020; and
  • The deadline to voluntarily pay corporate income tax regarding 2019 is extended until July 2020 (this measure may not apply entirely to the oil & gas sector; for more details please see our chapter on the impact of COVID-19 on the Oil & Gas Industry).

 

Does COVID-19 have any impact on the obligations impending upon the Public Administration? To what extent?

It follows from Decree 43/2020 that the COVID-19 outbreak has or may have an impact on the obligations impending upon the Public Administration vis-à-vis private entities/individuals.

Under said statute, a number of measures to mitigate the impact of the Pandemic is adopted, including the Ministry of Finance being charged with (i) reviewing all public contracts (including supply, technical assistance, advertising and general services’ contracts) in force until de end of 2020, and of supressing, if appropriate, contracts automatically renewable; (ii) preparing a listing of the contracts in force in Strategic Sectors (including inter alia Defence, Security, Mines, Energy and Telecommunications) to assess (inter alia) the level of commitments that they entail; and (iii) along with the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons, negotiate with companies carrying out activities in the oil sector the settlement of any tax debts assessed in connection with fiscal year 2019 before the end of the deadline set to make the annual tax filings.

Also, as a public finances/spending-related measure, Decree 43/2020 further sets forth that, due to force majeure, the Government will reorganize its spending to avoid delays. Accordingly, save for those projects that the Government declares that have maximum priority, a Certification Committee together with awarding companies will reschedule public spending obligations so that they are only due in the second semester of 2020.

 

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This information is being updated on a regular basis.

All information contained herein and all opinions expressed are of a general nature and are not intended to substitute recourse to expert legal advice for the resolution of real cases.