In effort to benefit maximally from the 1.2 billion African market under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), a host of Nigerian exporters have started fine tuning arrangements to meet the requirements to meet the standards outlined by the agreement.
The move is a welcome one, as having the required documentations would grant Nigerian exporters unfettered access to the AfCFTA market.
NATIONAL ECONOMY learnt that a good number of business entities have been trooping to the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) to obtain permits, licences, certificates and other relevant documentation from appropriate government agencies.
This is apart from getting regulatory approvals from such bodies as the National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control, Standard Organisation of Nigeria, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service and others.
In the requirements being sought to meet, exporters and agents must confirm that their exports fall within the permitted range of goods permitted by the AfCFTA agreement.
Documents such as bill of lading, certificate of analysis, certificate of origin, packing list, certificate of origin and certificate of analysis are required for shipment to be executed.
Similarly, AfCTA trading documents like supplier/producer’s declaration form, AfCTA certificate of origin, and origin of declaration form are to be provided for ease of export.
NOTN had earlier stated via its Twitter handle that exporters and agents needed to create a bill of entry, attach the permits from government agencies and make reservations with shipping or airline firms.
“The Nigerian Customs Service is the issuer of the certificate. However, NACCIMA must vet the application,” the trade negotiator said.
Nigeria, which accounts for about 76 percent of the total trade volume of the Economic Community of West African State, intends to increase its export trade by 100 percent to $50 billion in the next ten years via the AfCFTA trading field.
Nigeria joined 53 other countries in Africa on January 1 to set in motion the world’s biggest trade bloc, in terms of participating nations, that will speed up easy and efficient intra-continental trade, marked by few restrictions and less complex checks of goods across national borders and ports of entry.
Nigeria was one of the last African countries to sign the AfCFTA with President Muhammadu Buhari raising concerns that goods produced outside Africa could be dumped in Nigeria through other (West) African countries who allow largely unrestricted imports. The president only signed it after a committee he set up advised him to do so.
The AfCFTA plans to establish a single market, boost competitiveness among African countries, deepen economic integration and, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, lift intra-African trade by as much as 52 percent by 2022.