The Citizen | 26 May 2021
Tanzanian to ratify free trade area agreement
By Rosemary Mirondo
The government will ratify the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) between June and October this year, it was heard in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
The document will be taken to Parliament for ratification upon getting the endorsement of the cabinet, the director of government communications at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Mr Emmanuel Buhohela told The Citizen, yesterday.
He said preparations have already been completed.
“We have taken a long time to reach this point with all the stakeholders including experts, business people being on board before heads of state approved it and for now we are waiting for the awaiting the Parliament to finalize,” he said.
Earlier, Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation , Liberata Mulamula also also said they were waiting for the awaiting Parliament to approve the agreement during the commemoration of the African Day.
She said, on January 1, this year, African countries officially started trading under the AfCFTA agreement.
“So far 54 countries out of 55 African countries have signed the agreement, including Tanzania,” she said.
In addition, 37 countries have ratified the treaty. Tanzania is in the final stages of ratifying the agreement which will enable all African countries including Tanzania to do business without restriction.
Explaining, she said negotiations on excise duty have reached 75 percent and discussions on the origin of goods have reached 86 percent.
According to her, She said, Tanzania has continued to participate in the talks through the East African Community and has already submitted its recommendations.
“When completed, our products will be able to reach any African country easily and this step will move us further towards the goal of strengthening the African economy,” she said.
She noted that after for Tanzania, the ratification process goes through parliament where African countries including Tanzania will be able to promote trade across the continent because all by removing all barriers will be removed.
“This will be good for our countries, because there will also be a joint procedure for determining the tax to be applied on the goods traded,” she said. “We used to export business to Europe but now the market will be for African countries,” she said.
According to her, when Tanzania approves it, it would be an opportunity to develop the country’s industries and sell value added products across Africa instead of solely relying on imports.
On Covid-19, she said Africa was also affected by the pandemic. It is predicted that Africa will face economic downturn by 3.3 per cent.
Tanzania supports and commends all the efforts taken by the African Union and Africa (CDC) in controlling the spread of the disease as well as ensuring a large number of people have access to safe vaccines.
She said Tanzania will continue to take all steps to combat the disease as directed by experts.
Meanwhile on democracy, she noted that peace and security rule most of Africa, the war between nations is over. She said it was encouraging to note that military coup has slowed down dramatically and many countries exchange leadership in a peaceful and democratic manner despite the existence of few challenges.
She said Tanzania has continued to work with other African countries to ensure peace, security and safety and currently nation troops are on African Union and international missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Darfur, Sudan with the aim of helping restore peace.