With the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has expressed concern over its non-inclusion in the rules of origin agreement.
The Comptroller-General of Customs, retired Col. Hameed Ali made this known at a news conference to mark 2021 International Customs Day in Abuja.
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.
He said chambers of commerce were not experts in the process, hence the need to properly include customs to perform its roles.
“As at today, the 90 leaves of book 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 in Jan 1.
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.