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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Ghana to miss ECOWAS common tariffs deadline

Ghana will miss the January 2015 deadline for implementing the Common External Tariffs (CET) adopted by member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). That, according to the Finance Minister, Mr Seth Terkper, was because the country had failed to seek parliamentary approval for the new customs regime. He said the government set up a multi-ministerial implementation committee which had already submitted a memorandum to the Cabinet for onward transmission to Parliament for ratification, an exercise which means some of the country’s customs regulations and laws will change. “Ghana has not reneged on its commitment to implement the CET, but the January 1, 2015 deadline cannot be met because of parliamentary approval for specific sections of our customs laws.

But it’s our goal to expedite action on them to meet the deadline within 2015,” Mr Terkper, who is chairing a meeting of ECOWAS Finance Ministers and Director-Generals of Customs bodies across the sub-region, said in Accra yesterday. The meeting, which is being attended by all member countries of ECOWAS, follows an earlier meeting of a committee of experts, also in Accra. It is to evaluate preparations towards the full implementation of the harmonised tariffs regime for the 15-member ECOWAS region. The CET has been adopted by ECOWAS to replace all tariff bands (system) currently implemented by member states, after seven years of negotiations and fine-tuning among member countries after the process was first adopted in 2006. The CET regime means that the same tariffs will be slapped on an eligible item imported into the ECOWAS region, irrespective of which ECOWAS-member country it first lands in. It is a vehicle to create a customs union as a complementary condition for the creation of a common market for West Africa. Under the regime, Ghana’s four-band tariff system will expand to become five bands, namely basic essential goods, primary raw materials/capital goods, intermediate goods, final consumer goods and specified goods for economic development. 

Source: ghanaweb.com