A trader retrievesa receipt from an EBM. The amended law reinforces ministerial powers to fine taxpayers who circumvent using electronic billing machines to avoid paying taxes. (File)

The TFTA was launched in June last year by member countries of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Eastern African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the Egyptian town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

A trader retrievesa receipt from an EBM. The amended law reinforces ministerial powers to fine taxpayers who circumvent using electronic billing machines to avoid paying taxes. (File) The tripartite brings together 26 member States of the three regional blocs, with a population of 625 million and a Gross Domestic Product of 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars into a single market.

But the COMESA Council of Ministers expressed concern that none of the 26 countries have ratified the agreement while only 16 have so far signed it, according to a statement released by the COMESA Secretariat following a meeting held in Lusaka, the Zambian capital.

During an extraordinary meeting held on March 3 and 4, the Council of Ministers said national consultation on ratification and signing the agreement were currently ongoing among member states but called for the acceleration of the process.

A timeframe of 12 months from the date of the launching was given to conclude the issues, according to the statement.

The tripartite was founded on three pillars namely market integration, industrial development and infrastructure development.

The arrangement paves the way for the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in 2017. Enditem

Source:Xinhua

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