Government says it is very grateful for the fruitful relations that exist among all stakeholders and has expressed appreciation with the stakeholders’ contribution to the Commercial, Trade and Industrial Policy (CTI) currently under review.
And Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International Lusaka and Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) have welcomed the policy review in light of the recent developments in the trade and industry agenda.
The two organisations have also advised government to undertake a performance audit of the present CTI policy as this will assist in positively and accurately informing subsequent actions and decisions.
Speaking at the CTI review stakeholder consultative meeting held in lusaka recently, Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry (MCTI) incoming Permanent Secretary, Brigadier General Emelda Chola said that it was government’s intention to separate the Industrial from commercial and trade in order to come up with two independent policy documents.
She stated that the review of the CTI policy was also necessitated by the emergence of contemporary trade policy issues domestically and at international level and the need to align the policy framework to these dynamics was seen necessary.
In this process of review, she highlighted that government was going to employ a consultative mechanism so as to ensure that the there was public ownership of the policies.
And giving specific observations and recommendations on the Industry and trade part, CUTS and CTPD welcomed the move by government to separate the two (trade and industry) as the two, though interlinked, where too complex in nature.
And commenting specifically on the industrial policy part, the two organisations recommended on the need to harmonise the Diagnostic Trade Integrated Study (DTIS) and CTI review processes and ensure that the trade policy priority sectors identified in the DTIS are what informs the industrial chapter and failure to do so might results in undermining the affluence of such (DTIS) initiatives.
And commenting on the commercial and trade policy apart, the organisations observed that most of the focus areas, prescriptions and objectives in the CTI could be carried over to the new policy as they were relevant. However, the organisations advised that there was great need to make cosmetic amendments to some of them.
They cited the need to strike a balance on pursuing of improving market access with ensuring that private sector products penetrate these markets. This, according to the organisation, would entail addressing both behind and beyond the border challenges.
And the two organisations have observed that the exclusive nature and focus given to the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) trade preference in the CTIS as opposed to others preferences was an act in futility.
CUTS and CTPD therefore feels that equal importance and eminence should also have been given to other preferences – especially those which could have worked for Zambia such as the AGOA.
The organisations have therefore recommended that the new policy envisage striking a balance on these market access preferences and the policy should pay particular attention to the ones which have worked for Zambia.