TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
AS ZAMBIA plans the implementation of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), Government needs to identify specific products, which will be exported and imported under the agreement to enable local producers benefit.
In welcoming Government’s intention on CFTA as it will open borders, the Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC), however, notes that this will lead to some countries having an advantage over others because they have better resources.
This year, Zambia intends to implement CFTA whose objective is to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments thus pave the way for accelerating the creation of the Continental Customs Union by 2019, as provided for in the Abuja Treaty establishing the African economic community.
PMRC head of research and analysis Salim Kaunda said in an interview recently, that there is need to have a proper plan as a country so that local producers are not disadvantaged.
“Discussions have been made to have CFTA. However, if the agreement is implemented, it will be at bilateral level and government-to-government. Dialogue needs be done to agree on specific products to be exported and imported.
“For example, Zambia can tell Kenya that it will export sugar to that country and we [Zambia] will import cocoa. As a country, we need to identify what we can produce and find a mechanism to at least import what we do not produce so that local producers do not suffer at the expense of imports,” he said.
Mr Kaunda is optimistic that the upcoming seventh national development plan will help to deal with the issue of policy inconsistence.
“The seventh national development plan, which we have been part of in making , has come up with a unique approach of delivering that [and] will help to deal with the issue policy inconsistence .The plan clearly outlines which ministry will do what – including finance and capacity which will also promotes co-ordination ,” he said.