AfCFTA: Exclusion from Rules of Origin Administration Angers Customs
By Ahmed Rahma
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has expressed dissatisfaction over the handling of the Chambers of Commerce concerning the rules of origin in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
At a news conference in Abuja, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Mr Hameed Ali, said his agency is not sad over its exclusion from the process, stating that leaving the entire administration to Chambers of Commerce, who he said are not experts, in the process is not a good idea.
At the event organised to mark 2021 International Customs Day, Mr Ali explained that while customs was excluded in the rules of origin in verification and certification of goods, chambers of commerce were certified to carry out such obligations.
“As at today, the 90 leaves of books that will enjoy the leverage of liberalisation of non-tariff has not been communicated to us and we expected that.
“There is also an aspect of the rules of origin, we are saying leaving entire administration of rules of origin to chambers of commerce alone who are not experts does not augur well.
“We advise that members of customs should be part of the team that will verify and certify goods based on rules of origin that have been established.
“As far as readiness is concerned, we are ready to fully implement the process of AfCFTA as soon as all the enablers are made available to us,” he stated.
The AfCFTA, founded in 2018 with 54 participating African countries, commenced trade officially on January 1, 2021.
The free-trade area is the largest in the world in terms of the number of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade.