By Emmanuella Anokam
The Nigerian Office of Trade Negotiations (NOTN) has called for well-coordinated and coherent policy to boost manufacturing of standardised goods for African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) opportunities.
Mr Victor Liman, NOTN Acting Director-General and Chief Trade Negotiator made the call at a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja.
The trade negotiator explained that the Rules of Origin framework put in place under AfCFTA implementation was to encourage industrialisation and address trade gaps and deficits.
Liman, however, noted that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution in terms of trade in services was growing exponentially than trade in goods in Nigeria.
“As at 2019 trade in services was 53.4 per cent GDP contribution, we are moving away in terms of goods manufacturing, there is need to close the gap.
“Increase in goods production and manufacturing will assist in achieving food sufficiency and guarantee food security in the country.
“Nigeria needs to replicate what it has done in agricultural policy to boost rice production to other areas of products through diversification,’’ he said.
He also emphasised the need to move away from subsistence farming to mechanised farming through cooperative system with incentive scheme.
He said the organisation was working with relevant stakeholders to ensure that innovation strived and regulatory bottleneck did not impinge upon trade opportunities in AfCFTA .
“That is why NOTN has gone into an MoU with National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
“Putting requirements on website on how to obtain certifications is fantastic, but it is not enough because some Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) may not be able to read the website.
“They actually need to learn and understand the minimum requirements for production through proper sensitisation.
“We have to make sure that from the point of harvesting, handling, packaging, transportation and loading, standard requirements for quality are complied with,’’ the expert said.
Liman said collaboration with sub-national in an inclusive arrangement would ensure competitiveness and comparative advantage to create regional value chain and instigate jobs and investment.
AfCFTA plans to establish a single market, boost competitiveness, deepen economic integration and according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, lift intra-African trade by 52 per cent by 2022.
Nigeria joined 53 other African countries on Jan. 1, to set in motion the world’s biggest trade bloc that will speed up efficient intra-continental trade, marked by few restrictions across national borders and ports of entry.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NOTN recently outlined guidelines for export to AfCFTA countries.
Under the guidelines, exporters and agents aspiring to move products to countries under AfCFTA must obtain permits, licences, certificates and other relevant documentation from appropriate government agencies.
They must get regulatory approvals from such bodies, comprising NAFDAC, SON, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service and Nigerian Customs Service among others.
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, and certificate of analysis are required for shipment to be executed.
Similarly, AfCFTA trading documents supplier/producer’s declaration form, AfCFTA certificate of origin, and origin of declaration form are to be provided for ease of export.(NAN)