By Suzzy Tolofari, Kingsley Okoye
Abuja – African Union Directors-General of Customs have been urged to resolve to implement Free Trade Area agreement (CFTA), to boost trade on the continent.
Sen. Hope Uzodimma, Chairman Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff, made the call when he spoke to newsmen at the ongoing first extra-ordinary meeting of African Union Sub-committee of Directors General in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said the implementation of CFTA would facilitate trade in Africa, adding that this can only happen if the CFTA was implemented with utmost transparency.
“I wish to encourage you to adopt a strong resolution, urging African heads of states and governments to implement CFTA which in Jan. 2012 they agreed to establish in 2017.
`This agreement was inspired by the initiative of an African plan for boosting Intra-Africa Trade (BIATA).
“ The focus of the leaders at the 2012 summit was to boost intra-Africa trade.
“This is to be done by increasing productive capacity, trade related infrastructure, trade finance, trade information and factor market integration,’’ Uzodimma said.
According to him, lack of automation and marginal use of information technology was yet a major bane of trade facilitation in Africa.
He said that the waste of time and money at customs clearing point does not facilitate trade.
According to him, there is need for the application of high sense of patriotism, diligence and transparency to facilitate trade within the AU.
“As you know, there are allegations that some AU members countries conspire with countries outside the region to illegally adopt products from foreign countries as their own products.
“Thereafter, they stamp and ship from their port of origin to AU countries as though such goods were made in their countries, this unwholesome practice does not facilitate intra-Africa trade.
“You must therefore ensure that it is stamped out completely if the CFTA agreement is to have the desired impact’’, he added.