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Salone Sets for Better Market System

Concord Times, Sierra Leone

Salone Sets for Better Market System

By Ben Samuel Turay

23 August 2010

Freetown — Deputy minister of Trade and Industry has assured the people of Sierra Leone and ECOWAS states that her ministry with its trade partners will soon be more resourceful in market investment.

Mabinty Daramy said the country has many potentials that would make it more instrumental in operating a business. "We are going to work in collaboratively with ECOWAS," Daramy said.

On the 18 to 20 August this year a sensitization workshop on ECOWAS common external tariff trade liberalization scheme and investment code was held at the Hill Valley Hotel in Freetown to look at the challenges and the way forward in improving the market system in all ECOWAS states.

Chairperson of trade, customs, industry, mine and free movement of ECOWAS, Hon. Alhaji M.B. Daramy said the aim of the workshop was to have understanding of the instruments of ECOWAS’s regional integration policies and to reinforce their competences on the topics to be discussed.

Chairperson of trade committee in parliament, Hon. Musa T. Sam said they will be working closely with the ministry for proper advice.

It has been 14 years and counting since the original deadlines of 1990 for completing the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET), a key part of the planned customs union uniting the 15 member states. But now there is new hope for success. A CET implies that all goods entering into the customs territory of any ECOWAS country will be assessed the same rate as customs duty. In combination with the Free Trade Area, a CET offers several important advantages for ECOWAS importers and exporters.

These include an enlarged market comprising all 15 member states; cost certainty for traders; and reasonable tariff levels. Others are modernization of the revenue collection systems, making them increasingly transparent; increasing integration of the informal sector into the formal sector; and concrete evidence of economic integration.

Trade boosts world growth to everybody’s advantage. It brings consumers a wider range of products to choose from. Competition between imports and local products lowers prices and raises quality. Liberalized trade enables the most efficient EU firms to compete fairly with rivals in other countries. To help developing countries, the EU is ready to open its market to their exports even if they cannot reciprocate.