The 4th meeting of the joint management committee of the customs union has begun today, a three (3) day meeting in the city of Accra- Ghana. The meeting will review all the technical issues in eight (8) Supplementary acts and regulations of the Customs texts, make amendments and validate these cats with recommendations, which will be presented to the ministers on Friday, 12th November 2021 for further review and approval and onward presentation to the Council on Ministers for their adoption and implementation in member states.
The Commissioner for Customs, Trade and Free Movement, Mr. Konzi Tei, in his opening remarks, expressed the Commission’s profound gratitude to His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana and his entire Government for enlightened leadership in the conduct of ECOWAS affairs, on behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, HE Jean Claude Kassi BROU. Ghana has always been at the forefront of the integration process in Africa and I would like to salute the continued availability and unwavering commitment of Ghana to support the actions of the ECOWAS Commission in consolidating our customs union which represents an important step in the realization of the dream of the economic integration of the founding fathers of ECOWAS, he said.
He noted that despite the despite the pandemic, which is currently raging the world and disrupting the economic and social order, the turn out for the meeting was very impressive, showing that the pandemic has not weaken our determination and our resolve to work diligently for the economic integration of the community.
He called on participants to view these 3 days as playing their parts in contributing to harmonization and strengthening of the Customs Union in West Africa and Mauritania. He asked them to be diligent and overcome any challenges to ensure that the amendments of TEC modifications and the draft legal text for the migration of the ECOWAS CET of the 2017 version of the HS to the latest version of the nomenclature are successfully validated by January 2022. These validated texts and the ECOWAS SH2022 are expected to be will be submitted to the ECOWAS Council of Ministers for adoption, which will be fully implemented in the Member States in fulfilling the requirements of the World Customs Organization and the contracting parties to the International Convention on the Harmonized Designation System and codification of goods and also allow the Community to update its tariff offer within the framework of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), he ended, as he declared the meeting open.
Mrs, Rosemond Dante-Asante, the head of the Trade Facilitations in West Africa, implemented by GIZ, reiterated the importance of this meeting and added that the implementation of the ETLS had improved by 41% between October 2018 to September 2021 due to the provisions and creations of a website, e-certificate and a monitoring and evaluation mechanism among others which improve the channels of communication among key actors.
She stated that the piloting of the Supplementary Act on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Niger, and Nigeria, which is expected to be extended to all member states, will definitely deepen the consolidation of the ECOWAS Customs Union.
Mr. Benjamin Ayesu-Kwafo represented the Ghana delegation and chaired the meeting. In his welcome address, he called for total commitment for all participants in ensuring the success of the validation process. As you may recall, as Customs administrators, we are expected to review the version of the Common External Tariff we are using, and the 2017 version is overdue. The most important aspect of this meeting is to look at how we can migrate from the 2017 version to the 2022 version. We need to review all the technical issues and present a report for our heads of Customs in each of our states for their approval and subsequent adoption as the new Custom, Common External Tariff to be implemented across the region.