ECOWAS states not ready for CET

There are strong indications that the Common External Tariff (CET) adopted by Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at an extraordinary session in Dakar, Senegal in October 2013 may not be implemented anytime soon.

The delay in the implementation was as a result of some West Africa countries involved in the treaty not set for the implementation.

It could be recalled that Nigeria along with other members of the ECOWAS was supposed to adopt a Common External Tariff on January 1st 2015.

The adoption of the CET is also expected to lead to cooperation among all customs organisations within the sub region and they will operate as a single union with uniform duties and other trade policies.

The initiative was to enhance the economic integration process in West Africa. ECOWAS Heads of State and Government at an extraordinary session in Dakar, Senegal in October 2013 signed the agreement.

But SHIPS & PORTS DAILY reliably gathered during the week from a top officer of the Nigeria Customs Service that the implementation of the policy might be delayed for some time because of some countries that are not ready for implementation.

The source, who does not want his name in print because he was not authorized to speak to the media on the matter, said some of the ECOWAS countries were not ready for implementation hence the implementation of the CET may be delayed.

“Every country has its own policy, for example the policy of Nigeria is to make rice 10 percent duty 60% levy that does not mean every country must adopt that.

“They have the right to say they are not ready especially looking at the Nigerian policy on automobile and the rest so you have to get yourself equipped as a country before you jump into it,” he said.

“Also, the ECOWAS community will look at it from the angle of the less privileged country to the privileged country so that everyone can interface to enjoy it. It has to be balanced so that the system will work very well,” the source added.

The adoption of the CET is expected to lead to cooperation among all Customs organisations within the sub-region and they will operate as a single union with uniform duties and other trade policies.

It is believed that CET would check the dumping of inferior goods in the West African sub-region though goods imported into a Francophone country will not necessarily be cheaper or more expensive than those entering another Anglophone countries such as Nigeria or Ghana.

The CET is also expected to improve Customs revenue within the sub-region, key sectors of member countries will get a fair measure of protection as the plan will boost national productivity through a remarkable reduction of customs duties on items such as raw materials for industrial production. It is also expected to discourage smuggling; be an effective instrument for harmonising the import policies of member states and strengthen the framework for the realization of a common market among others.



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