President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has submitted to the House of Representatives a law that will allow Liberia to join 14 other countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to implement the Common Extended Tariff (CET) within five years.
The draft law is titled, “An Act to Amend the Act Ratifying and Adopting the ECOWAS Common External Tariff as Amended.”
According to the President’s communication, the objective of the bill is to create the legal framework that allows Liberia adopt a five year migration plan to the CET.
In the communication, the President said the Act was agreed among member states to adopt a CEF for all imported products from outside the ECOWAS community with a view to establish a customs union.
President Sirleaf maintained that the Act ratifying and adopting the CET in Liberia provides for a two year transitional period, thereby alleviating the immediate negative impact of the CET as it relates to basic household consumables and critical inputs.
“Due to the impact of the CET on national revenue, the ECOWAS authority has provided each country a five year transitional period (of which two years have elapsed) for implementing the tariffs for certain commodities,” the President said.
“The bill, when passed, shall repeal and replace the migration plan which was adopted under the CET implementation with a new migration plan.”
Meanwhile, according to reports, 10 member states have so far implemented the CET, which came into effect in January 2015.
The CET aims to ensure transparency and facilitate the easing of challenges to doing business both within the sub-region and with third party countries, and would boost sub-regional trade between 10 to 14 percent.
The ECOWAS CET also has a provision for temporary Import Adjustment Tax, which was accommodated to allow countries to adjust to the scheme during the five-year transitional period ending in 2019.
Meanwhile, the Committees on Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning and Judiciary have been mandated by the House’s Plenary to report within a week.