Trade and economic policy think tank, the Centre for Trade Policy and Development says the cautious approach Zambia has taken with regards to signing the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) agreement is necessary.
The organization says this is in light of the many challenges Zambia still needs to address in order to prepare the private sector players to compete and participate in the opportunities that the CFTA stand to provide.
CTPD Executive Director Isaac Mwaipopo said in a statement that his organization acknowledges and understands that the CFTA arrangement may provide a number of opportunities which include increased market for goods and services.
Mr Mwaipopo observed that the CFTA is also an opportunity to turn around the environment when it comes to financing growth for most of the private sector players within the African continent and this is besides other opportunities such as technology transfer.
“But we are also cognizant that the signing of this agreement may poss a number of challenges among which may include loss of revenue on tariffs levied from imports and exports,” he warned.
Mr Mwaipopo added, “There will be need to consider undertaking a cost benefit analysis in terms of revenues that we are potentialy likely to forego if we sign on to the CFTA before we finalize our participation, there is also need to try and work around ensuring that the environment in which our private sector players operate is improved so that they might be able to develop products and services that can compete favorable, otherwise left unchecked, we stand to have a number of challenges that might lead to us becoming a dumping ground for foreign goods and services.”
He stated that Zambia needs to do its home work in finalizing the various pieces of legislation the country has been developing among which includes the industrial policy as well as policies which relate to trade exports.
“There is need to ensure that information around the negotiations is spread to many stakeholders who are the target beneficiaries such as the private sector players and small holder farmers so that they may be able to prepare for the changes that might come with the signing on to the CFTA,” he said.