Hon Billay G. Tunkara
December 11, 2022

Majority Leader and Leader of the Gambian delegation to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Billay G. Tunkara says many member states within the sub-region are not really prepared to take advantage of the taking off of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

According to him AfCFTA comes with a price that is why there are reservations in terms of sensitive and special goods in the agreement, “one you are letting go of so many revenues that you will collect”.

Majority Leader Gambia

He noted in an interview that, when AfCFTA comes into force, member states in the sub-region will be losing huge revenues since it has become an African thing and even with ECOWAS establishment looking at free movement of goods and services.

“Gambia which is a tax base economy, if you ask me to leave thirty percent of my revenue, you are putting pressure on my economy and we as West Africans. We have to look inward, what we have as our potential to produce and sell in the market at the end of the day we do not want to be seen as the damping place of the African continental market”.

As a country you do not enter into these things and you do not have the capacity to become more industrious economy, you have very few industries in your country to produce, “where do you sell at the end of the day we become recipient, you become the damping ground of finished goods. As a sub-region we should be prepared to produce to send to other regional blocks not only creating the market?”

Again, the former chairman of the Trade Committee in the Gambian parliament expressed worry over some multilateral companies taking advantage of the whole AfCFTA despite they have their origins from Europe. Instead of paying taxes in their home country, they will come and set up sub-factories in the sub-region or African continent.

Just to make sure they avoid all the taxes and to abuse the market. He explained that these are all things one needs to put into consideration. “If you are to export from say Germany you will pay customs fees, but if you have a factory within the African continent, you now push your goods in the name of AfCFTA, which means you enjoy certain privileges, certain wavers which ordinary if you were not on the African continent you will have paid some money”.

He asserts that all these issues are issues that as a sub-region we should be mindful of as it goes beyond integration, it has some economic consequences.

As to whether the sub-region as a bloc will get to realise AfCFTA, he noted that we will get there, let us see how it will unfold because countries do not let all their taxes out, there are certain tariffs they keep.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com