West Africa regional bloc starts common external tariff regime

The West African sub-regional economic bloc commenced its Common External Tariff (CET) regime in eight out of its 15-member countries, an official has said.


In addition to that, measures have been put in place to deal with a Portuguese translation challenge faced by seven other countries, which is hampering the implementation of the CET.


So far, Benin, Togo, La Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Niger and Nigeria have started the implementation.

Ghana, Cape Verde, Liberia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone are however yet to commence.
Ghana is supposed to start the implementation of the CET in February after parliament ratified the convention late 2015.

Nelson Magbagbeola, Acting Director of Multilateral Surveillance at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, made these known at the ongoing 38th Technical Committee Meeting of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) here.

As part of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) entered into by the West African States and the European Union (EU), the former were made to harmonize their trade regimes, including adopting a common external tariff regime.

According to him, it is expected that the implementation of the CET in the seven remaining member-states would start as soon as possible.

The implementation of the CET means that imports into, and exports from all the member-states of the West African sub-regional bloc would attract the same tariffs.

He said the sub-regional body was also putting in place the final steps to make the West African biometric Identity Card operational this month to ensure the free movement of people in the region.

“In order to guarantee a competitive environment for investment flows in the region, the Commission has accelerated efforts to finalize and adopt the common investment code and the common investment policy,” Magbagbeola said.

He said efforts were also underway to foster the establishment of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) at the regional level for financing development in West Africa.

He said he was committed to ensuring that the common regional integration, inclusive growth and development of the region are realized.

The quest to create a second monetary zone with a second single currency for the Anglophone zone which formed the WAMZ has now been joined to the entire sub-regional quest to create a single West African currency.

Representing the Ghanaian government, Maj. (Rtd) Mahama Samuel Tara, Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance, said although the existence of the WAMZ platform held the key to speedy policy harmonization and institutional developments within the zone, the sub-region was undergoing some economic challenges.

“In the face of these challenges, we should be steadfast to provide strong and focused leadership within the ambit of the WAMZ,” Maj. Tara urged. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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