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Media engaged on ECT integration

July 14, 2016 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

The media was yesterday engaged on trade integration among member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Common Tariff Committee (ECT).

The ECOWAS Common External Tariff was adopted in 2006 by West African States with the aim of establishing a common tariff, including customs duties, import quotas, preferences or other non-tariff barriers to trade that are applied to all goods entering the area, regardless of which country within the area they are entering.

The tariff was designed to end re-exportation, but may also inhibit imports from countries outside the customs union, thereby diminishing consumer choice and support protectionism of industries based within the customs union.

Addressing a presser at Santano House in Freetown, Yassi Jalloh-Jamboria, Manager of Assessment and Validation at the National Revenue Authority, said Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in January 2006 in Niamey, Niger, adopted a decision to establish the ECOWAS-CET.

He said the creation of a CET that is functional in all member states would lead to one ECOWAS Parliament and Bank that would maintain tariff to help boost the economy of member countries.

He said nine out of the 16 ECOWAS countries have started implementing the CET, but Sierra Leone was left behind due to the Ebola outbreak in 2014, hence they have decided to set up a CET Committee.

He added that stakeholders – policy makers, customs officials, immigration officers, the police, armed forces, bank officials, clearing and forwarding agents, traders and citizens – would be needed to ensure full implementation.

In his presentation, Abubakarr Kamara of the National Revenue Authority, said the CET would help promote free trade and that tax imposed on imported goods among member countries would be abolished.

He said the general goal was to develop economies of scale and comparative advantage, which promote economic efficiency.

He said it would also help promote customs union among member states as they would be dealing with the same tariffs and common market.

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