According to a public statement issued by the Nigerian Office For Trade Negotiations (NOTN) and signed by its Acting Director-General/Chief Trade Negotiator, Victor Liman, on Saturday said exporters or agents aspiring to move products to countries under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) must obtain permits, licences, certificates and other relevant documentation from appropriate government agencies.
The signature of AfCFTA Agreement by 54 African Union member states provides an anchor for long-term reforms and integration. The AfCFTA creates the largest free trade area globally measured by the participation of 1.3 billion people across its member states of the African Union with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) valued at USD3.4trn. According to the World Bank, AfCFTA is estimated to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty and 68 million people out of moderate poverty by 2030. Real income gains from full implementation of the agreement could increase the size of the African economy by 7% (or USD450bn).
Nigeria has the largest economy and population in Africa with more than $500 billion in GDP and a population of 200 million. This market size allows manufacturers to increase capacity and expand into other African countries. This enables investors benefit not only from the Nigerian market but from other countries on the continent as well.
Consequently, Nigeria contributes an estimated 76% of total trading volume in the ECOWAS region. This is made possible because of the ECOWAS treaty which provides for the free movement of people and goods throughout 15 West African countries.
On the 11th of November 2020, the Federal Executive Council ratified Nigeria’s membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This occurs more than a year after Nigeria signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (the “Agreement”) in July 2019. The Agreement establishes a single market for goods and services across 54 countries, allows for the free movement of business travelers and investments, and creates a unified customs union to streamline trade on the continent.
— NOTN (@TradeOfficeNG) January 17, 2021
Steps to be taken by 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
- The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement which took off in January 1, 2021, is expected to create the world’s largest free trade area measured by the number of countries participating.
- The pact which connects about 1.3 billion people across 54 countries with a gross domestic product (GDP) valued at $3.4 trillion, has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty. However, achieving its full potential will depend on putting in place significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures.
- The scope of AfCFTA is large as 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. Full implementation of AfCFTA would reshape markets and economies across the region and boost output in the services, manufacturing and natural resources sectors.
Last year, Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN), launched the Nigerian Trade Policy Roadmap that will position the country as 15 largest economies in the world by 2025.