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ECOWAS expresses optimism in CET implementation


Abuja- The ECOWAS Council of Ministers has expressed optimism in the implementation of the Common External Tariff (CET) which is expected to take off on Jan. 1, 2015.

The optimism was part of the recommendations made at the closing of the three-day meeting of the council’s 73rd Ordinary Session in Abuja on Thursday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that CET for the ECOWAS sub-region was adopted at the Heads of State Summit in October 2013 in Dakar.

A common external tariff is introduced when a group of countries forms a Customs union.

It implies that the same Customs duties, import quotas, preferences or other non-tariff barriers to trade apply to all goods entering the area.

This will be regardless of which country within the area they are entering.

Member-states agreed that the CET will ensure the free movement at the borders, increase economic efficiency and establish closer political and cultural ties between the member-countries.

In her address, Mrs Hanna Tetteh, Chairman of the council, said recommendations drawn from the presentations on the CET were made during the course of the meeting, among other recommendations.

Tetteh said the meeting came up with a report on the recommendations made on the various issues which were considered.

She explained that the recommendations made would be deliberated on by the Authority of Heads of State and Government (HOSG).

“Over the last two days, we considered the reports of the President of the commission, which detailed the activities of the commission for the year 2014.

“The reports also detailed significant events which had taken place over the period.

“A number of issues that came up for discussion were the Ebola disease, the impact it has had on the region and the impact it has had on the economies of the region.

“The issue of peace and security with specific reference to some of the increasing incidences of terrorism and crimes taking place offshore within our maritime area, the Gulf of Guinea, were discussed.

“We discussed the steps which had been taken so far on the implementation of the ECOWAS common external tariff which we expect to take effect from Jan. 1, 2015 throughout the entire region.”

Tetteh said the outcomes of deliberations made at the session would be announced based on the recommendations approved by the Authority of Heads of State and Government.

“This is because the Council of Ministers makes recommendations for the HOSG.

“But the decisions as to what ECOWAS will implement or not, in respect of any of the issues I have previously referred to, will be taken by the authority.

“So, we still have another meeting to complete before we can give you tangible outcomes on this particular session of activities,” she said.

Other recommendations made were in the areas of education, health science, private sector development and setting up multilateral investment guarantee scheme for the ECOWAS region.

The council also deliberated on the financial budget of the commission and the restructuring of the institutions of the bloc.(NAN)

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