The Department of Economic Affairs of the Commission of the Economic Community of West Afri-can States (ECOWAS), through its Directorate of Customs is organising the 7th meeting of Finance Ministers of ECOWAS Member States and of Mauritania, on 26 November 2022 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
This important meeting is being organised to consider and endorse the different Community legal texts relating to the implementation of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) and tax harmonisation.
Upon consideration and approval, the Finance Ministers would then recommend the texts for adoption by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers. The texts include the (i) draft Regulation amending the list of categories of goods contained in the ECOWAS CET tariff and statistical no-menclature, (ii) draft Directive setting out regional guidelines on the code of ethics for tax ad-ministrations of ECOWAS Member States, and (iii) draft Directive amending Directive C/DIR.2/06/09 relating to the Harmonisation of ECOWAS Member States’ laws on excise duties.
Further texts to be submitted for consideration and approval of the Finance Ministers are the, (iv) draft Directive harmonising the methodology for evaluation of tax expenditure in ECOWAS Member States, (v) draft Directive establishing an institutional monitoring and evaluation sys-tem for the tax transition in West Africa, and finally (vi) draft Directive amending Directive C/DIR1/05/09 of 27 May 2009 relating to the Harmonisation of ECOWAS Member States’ Legisla-tions on Value Added Tax (VAT) as amended by Directive C/DIR.2/ 12/17 of 14 December 2017.
To ensure effective review of the draft texts, a technical meeting of the Joint ECOWAS-UEMOA Committee for the Management of the ECOWAS Customs Union will hold from 21 to 23 No-vember 2022 in Abidjan.
This regional meeting of national experts from the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions will pre-cede a meeting of the Directors-General of Customs and of Taxation respectively scheduled for the 24th and 25th of November 2022, in Abidjan.
In attendance at the series of meetings will be ECOWAS Finance Ministers, Customs Directors-General, experts in customs, industry/trade/finance from the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commis-sions. The Islamic Republic of Mauritania will also attend the meetings by virtue of the cooper-ation agreement between the country and ECOWAS.
Recall that the entry into force of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) on 1st January 2015 in the Member States sequel to the declaration of the Authority of Heads of State and Government at its 46th Ordinary Session in Abuja on 15 December 2014, marked an important phase in the establishment of a customs union in the region.
To assist Member States in the gradual move towards the CET structure, the ECOWAS Council of Ministers at the extraordinary session held in Abidjan on 30 September 2013, adopted the ECOWAS Regulation on supplementary protection measures. These measures will expire on 31 December 2022.
The Community set up a tax transition programme at the same time as the implementation of the CET to support revenue mobilisation in Member States.
The tax transition programme in collaboration with Member States is in line with the need to harmonise taxation laws on excise duties and value added tax and set out guidelines on the code of conduct of the tax administrations in ECOWAS Member States.