The World Customs Organisation of East and Southern Africa has dispelled fears that the coming into effect of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) is likely to affect revenue collection among countries in the African region.
Director of the World Customs Organisation East and Southern Africa capacity building Larry Liza says before the agreement takes effect, countries in the region will need to put in place implementation measures and legal frameworks aimed at protecting revenue collection.
Mr. Liza told journalists in Lusaka yesterday, that there is need for countries in the region to look at a broader picture on what benefits are expected to be accrued from the agreement.
He explained that the market may seem to affect revenue collection, but the agreement is expected to be more beneficial to society through increased trade facilitation and business opportunities.
He noted that this is because the agreement will allow the business community, to have easy access to foreign markets while improving their businesses.
Mr. Liza added that there is no need for stakeholders in the African region to be agitated with the implementation of AfCFTA, adding that all countries will continue their revenue collection depending on their legal framework.
Meanwhile, Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Commissioner Customs Services Sydney Chibbabbuka disclosed that Zambia is still awaiting parliament and stakeholder approval before coming up with an implementation plan.
Mr. Chibbabbuka noted that it is premature for Zambia to know whether the country’s revenue collection base will be affected by the implementation of the AfCFTA or not.
He was, however, quick to mention that despite the predicated loss in revenue collection due to the implementation of AfCFTA, Zambia is still expected to gain more from other sources of revenue like Pay As You Earn through increased employment creation.
He added that the country is also likely to benefit through improved industrial activities as well as increased exports, among others.
The AfCFTA has secured the required number of ratifications which is 22 and Zambia is expected to deposit its instrument of ratification.