By Raphael Oni
The Federal Government has outlined steps to be taken by Nigerian businesses to export to other African countries that are part of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). You will recall that the much talked about the free trade agreement began in earnest on with 54 African countries signature. The trade agreement is reputed to be one of the largest in the world.
This disclosure is contained in a public statement issued by the Nigerian Office For Trade Negotiations (NOTN) and signed by its Acting Director-General/Chief Trade Negotiator, Victor Liman. The guide by NOTN is to assist Nigerian exporters who want to take advantage of AfCFTA.
Steps to be taken by Nigerian exporters
- Exporter or agent must secure all necessary licenses, permits, certificates and necessary documents from relevant agencies like Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) and others.
- Ensure that the product qualifies for export under AfCFTA.
- Next, create a bill of entry, attach all relevant permits from government agencies and secure reservation with shipping or airline company. Apply for Nigeria Customs Service AfCFTA Certificate of Origin after paying a fee.
- The Nigerian Customs Service is the issuer of the certificate, however, NACCIMA must vet the application.
- Also, other accompanying documents required for shipment under AfCFTA should be included like Certificate of origin, Nigerian Customs Bill of Entry, Bill of Lading, Packing list, and Certificate of Analysis.
Finally, compulsory AfCFTA trading documents are
- Supplier/Producer’s declaration form.
- Origin of declaration form.
- AfCFTA Certificate of origin.
What You should Know about AfCFTA
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will create the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of countries participating. The pact connects 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion. It has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, but achieving its full potential will depend on putting in place significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures.
The scope of AfCFTA is indeed large and commendable. The agreement will reduce tariffs among member countries and cover policy areas such as trade facilitation and services, as well as regulatory measures such as sanitary standards and technical barriers to trade. With good police put in place to ensure full implementation of AfCFTA, this will reshape markets and economies across the region and boost output in the services, manufacturing and natural resources sectors.
It is no longer new that global economy is in turmoil due to the COVID-19 pandemic, creation of the vast AfCFTA regional market is a major opportunity to help African countries diversify their exports, accelerate growth, and attract foreign direct investment.
AfCFTA is an opportunity for countries and companies to help each other grow, as they have done in other regions. But trade liberalization has the potential to damage the poorest within those countries, which is why it is so important to have supportive policies.
There is the need to train journalists on special reporting skills on the trade agreement as this will help media men to understand and appreciate the Africa economic development issues; and to understand and report on AfCFTA, African trade and related policy issues, and trade & International Political Economy.
Although media men does not formulate policies, but there reportage will assist government functionaries of policies formulations and implementation, to this end media practitioners need to Understand and report on AfCFTA phases, benefits for each country structural transformation; and where AfCFTA stands in terms of achievements and way forward. This will guide to understand and report on opportunities from the AfCFTA for a particular country/region, possible short term losses and how to mitigate them and to also equip them ethical guidelines in reporting African business and economics and other public policy issues.