This Day | 5 October 2020
AFCFTA : Rules of origin negotiations at concluding stages
The Acting Director General of the Nigerian office of Trade Negotiations, Liman Victor Liman has said that his office has negotiated and almost concluded the rules of origin to pave way for Nigeria’s ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
Liman disclosed this on the sidelines of a meeting with the Visiting Secretary General of AfCFTA, Mr. Mene Wamkele to Lagos, recently.
Rules of origin is the criteria needed to determine the nationality of a product that could make or break the AfCFTA process.
He said : “We have made a lot of progress and as today, we have negotiated and almost concluded the rules of origin to pave way for Nigeria’s ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.”
Liman added : “As part of the agreement, It is proposed that ‘Value add’ should be between 30 and 45 per cent.”
Liman further said the COVID-19 pandemic prevented parties from going on with physical negotiations.
He said : We may never be completely ready but we have engaged thoroughly to ensure that people understand the agreements.”
The AfCFTA Secretary General in his remarks noted that the secretariat has been listening to stakeholders and getting the views of what they expect from the agreement.
Wamkele said :” It is Africa last opportunity to integrate our Market to ensure predictability and certainty of our market. We need to make sure that we place Africa on the value-added economies and eventually it will get to intellectual property rights and electronic payments. “
Wamkele also hinted that they are discussing with Afreximbank for the payment and settlement platforms without any currency convertibility or asking people to go through correspondence bank outside Africa.
“We want to integrate women in trade, SMEs, Young Africans because if the agreement benefit only the big multinationals, it will not succeed.” he added.
Similarly, the Executive Chairman/CEO, BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu expressed excitement and readiness to work towards the implementation and success of the AfCFTA while receiving the Secretary General of the AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene.
He said due to the poor implementation of regional trade agreements, there was a high level of distrust amongst Africa nations, despite their support for AfCFTA.
He further said : “A situation where people cannot move goods produced in African countries where over 90 per cent value has been added to other African Countries”.
In proffering solutions to the problems, Rabiu said for the AfCFTA integration to be successful, there must be free movement through liberalised air travel, operations, and visa-free regimes across the Africa continent for businesses and individuals.
He also said private sector players must be invited by the Governments of Africa to discuss the way forward for sustainable investments and partnerships.