In a bid to equip journalists with issues relating to the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), which came into effect on January 1, 2021, the Network of Financial and Tax Reporters (NFTR) with support from the Ministry of Trade and UNDP on Wednesday convened a day’s sensitization on ACFTA at the National Nutrition Agency (NaNA).
Addressing the forum, Ousman Bojang, the director of Trade at the Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment, said the adoption of the agreement establishing the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) is an important milestone in the history of the African continent, as the desire is to collectively promote continental development through trade.
He said (ACFTA) agreement will not only provide a solid platform for the state parties to work together towards sustainable growth and development, but it will also serve as a platform in mobilising African support in advancing the WTO Doha Development Agenda and advocate for stronger multilateral trading system in the interest of all members.
The regional trade integration, he added, has long been a strategic objective for Africa, despite some success in eliminating tariffs within regional communities.
“A range of non-tariff and regulatory barriers still raise transaction costs and limit the movement of goods, services, people and capital across borders throughout Africa.”
Bojang revealed that it is estimated that intra-African trade costs are around 50% higher than in East Asia, and are the highest of intra-regional costs in any developing region as the result of these high costs is that Africa has integrated with the rest of the world faster than with itself.
For his part, Abdoulie Nyokech, president of Network of Financial Tax Reporters said that the primary objective of the NFTR-Gambia Chapter is to serve as a watch- dog to ensure that there is fair play in tax payment between business communities, the government and the tax authorities.
He explained that amongst the objectives of the NFTR, is to educate and sensitise the masses on the importance of tax payment to government and the devastating effect of anti-money laundry and terrorist financing in the sub region.
“We believe the media has an important role in helping protect our financial system and economy from money laundering and terrorist financing threats.” he concluded.