By Abdul Rahman Bangura–
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS (NABN) Freetown, Sierra Leone- Tanzania is dawdle for the September House to uphold the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that is lauded as a game changer in the continent’s trade. Exaud Kigahe Industry and Trade Deputy Minister warned on August 15th, 2021that, the cabinet had in last week endorsed the document, ready for accepting same to Parliament scheduled to kick off on August 31st, 2021.
The concern of the AfCFTA, the treaty which concentrates on eliminating non-tariff trade obstacles in the continent. The pact, autographed by 54 of the African Union’s (AU) 55 member states, commits nations to 90% tariff slices within five years. Therefore, thirty seven nations have upheld the agreement, with Tanzania being
amongst those which were also to approve the agreement intended for at establishing a free trade area with more than 1.2 billion people.
“If all goes as planned, we expect to ratify the pact as soon as possible because that is our priority as a country,” the Deputy Minister affirmed.
“Ratifying the pact means opening doors for competition. That is why it has been taking long to prepare the private sector for that competition,” he asserted.
“We don’t want Tanzania to become an exporter of raw materials and importer of finished goods.
“We don’t want to record the balance of the payment deficit.”
The projected benefits of the agreement are significant.
Going by the Uneca, Tanzania may lose 1.3 percent of the total government revenue on removal of some tariffs but the country will benefit more from the trade pact.
Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) President – Paul Koyi asserted, likely benefits to the private sector encompassed improving economies of scale. With the agreement, it is susceptible for local businesses to scale abroad and accordingly, it earns them more glamorous for foreign direct investment.
“Tanzania is still an infant. We need to join forces with others in the continent for us to thrive,” announced Koyi.
For New Africa Business News (NABN) Abdul Rahman Bangura Reports, Africa Correspondent