The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has urged the Nigerian Government to inaugurate a committee to look into the seizure of legitimate goods and containers by Customs during the border closure.
This was disclosed by NANTS President, Dr Ken Ukaoha, in an interview on Tuesday in Abuja. Ukaoha warned that most of the seized goods could have expired by now as over 70% of the seized goods were agro products, especially those that were bound for export.
NANTS said Nigerian traders had legitimate goods valued at billions with expiry dates seized alongside smuggled goods when Nigeria shut its land borders in August 2019.
They added that goods valued at N240 billion were seized, while goods valued at N600 billion were in Benin Republic, citing that well over 1000 trucks were still stranded at the borders.
- “On the goods that were stranded since Aug. 20, 2019 when the borders were shut down, we are sadly noting and perhaps calling on government to see ways of looking into some of the recommendations that we made. That government should come up with a committee that will document in a proper manner the list of goods and items and the containers (vessels) as well as haulage vehicles carrying those goods that have been stranded since the border was closed.
- “The committee should also document the number and the names of those vehicles, true owners of those wares and commodities seized, then the appropriate locations. These documentations will help us and everyone to see transparency and help government, so that everybody will see how transparent the government is in her dealings.
- “The reason we are seeking for this proper documentation is that there is need for government to consider the owners of goods that were stranded, especially where these goods are genuine goods under genuine transactions.”
Ukaoha mentioned that the Mfun Border in Cross River which was declared open recently has not been fully operational, as operations in other ports have not picked up operations yet.
He added that most traders and manufacturers took loans to conduct Business and NANTS wants to know how government will come in to assist and compensate them.
- “Out of the borders that were shut down, four had been ordered to be reopened by the President. But sadly for us, out of the four, Mfun border in Cross River is still not fully opened to the public, and the other ones are still partially opened. Our members in Mfun informed us that the border officials, immigration essentially, complained that they were yet to receive signals from their headquarters. So, that place remains shut down.
- “The two in the Northern axis and the one in Seme have partial opened in the sense that activities have not picked up and movement of goods and services have not been lifted the way they used to be. But we are hoping and believing that perhaps preparations are in top gear.”
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported in October 2019, that the Federal Government (FG) of Nigeria ordered the complete closure of Nigeria’s borders, placing a ban on both legitimate and illegitimate movement of goods in and out of the country.
- President Muhammadu Buhari, 2 weeks ago, ordered the immediate reopening of four of Nigeria’s land borders, over a year after they were all shut.
- CSL Stockbrokers told Nairametrics that “the last GDP numbers announced also showed a contraction of the trade sector (down 12.1% y/y). We note the steep contraction in the trade sector GDP is reflective of not only covid-19 related pressures but also adverse trade policies such as closure of land borders.”
FG outlines steps to be taken by businesses to export to AfCFTA countries
FG has outline steps to be taken by Nigerian businesses to export to other member-countries of the AfCFTA.
The Federal Government has outlined steps to be taken by Nigerian businesses to export to other African countries that are part of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
This follows the take-off of the trade agreement, which is reputed to be one of the largest globally, on January 1, 2021, with 54 African countries signed on to it.
This disclosure is contained in a public statement issued by the Nigerian Office For Trade Negotiations (NOTN) and signed by its Acting Director-General/Chief Trade Negotiator, Victor Liman.
The guide by NOTN is to assist Nigerian exporters who want to take advantage of AfCFTA.
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.
AfCFTA: Nigerian Commodities Exchange prepared for agreement – MD
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Commodities Exchange has stated that the agency is fully prepared to take advantage of the AfCFTA.
The Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX) is well-positioned to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), through the implementations of several measures to ensure smooth export operations of Nigerian Commodities.
This was disclosed by the Managing Director of the Commodities Exchange, Mrs. Zaheera Baba-Ari, in an interview on Sunday in Abuja.
- “The establishment of the continental trade bloc will be beneficial to African countries if properly managed.”
She added that the NCX had an established network of 20 warehouses across major production areas in the six geo-political zones of the country for efficient receipt and storage of agro-commodities to be traded on the exchange.
The warehouses, located in Zamfara, Kano, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue, Bauchi, Sokoto, Plateau, Ebonyi, Ekiti and Kogi, have a combined capacity to store 50 trillion tonnes of goods. She added that warehouses in Adamawa, Gombe, Taraba, Jigawa, Edo, Cross River and Ondo States would be ready within the year.
The NCX boss said that AfCFTA would help Africa fight challenges that were caused by the pandemic in the continent’s economies through trade.
- “The NCX has acquired robust Trading Application System for seamless buying and selling of commodity to ensure market integrity, price transparency and the facilitation of cross border trades.
- “It has also acquired a Warehouse Management System that assures an efficient management of warehouse inventories. We have perfected Memorandum of Understanding with relevant foreign and Nigerian Commodity Associations like the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange and the Export Merchants Association of Sudan to trade in selected agro-commodities.”
She added that the NCX has also launched Quality Assurance Laboratories in each of the delivery warehouses, stating that the labs would be used for testing the quality of commodities such as paddy rice, cocoa, sesame seed, soya beans, maize, sorghum and cashew nuts that would be traded on the exchange.
The NCX Chief said the labs were certified to ISO22000 certification which combines ISO 9001 with Food Safety Management and Hazard Analysis, including Critical Control Point System (HACCP).
- “The HACCP identifies specific hazards and proffers measures for the control of identified impurities in the food processing sector. The issue of tariff on agro-commodity exports from Nigeria should be addressed to increase efficiency of trade flows.
- “There is also the need for Nigeria to improve its position on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking from its current 131st rung of the ladder.”
What you should know
- Nigeria was the 34th African country to fully ratify and submit its Instrument of Ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
- Mr. Bismarck Rewane, Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives Company Limited said that the African Continental Free Trade Area would create the desired impetus to stimulate the economic growth of Nigeria in 2021.
- Customs officials in the continent agreed to draft continental guidelines to enable the movement of goods, services and people for the agreement.
Reps oppose school resumption date, ask for 3 months extension
The lower legislative chamber has flawed FG’s directive on public and private schools’ January 18, 2021 resumption date.
The House of Representatives has moved against the Federal Government’s directive that schools should resume on Monday, January 18, despite the rising cases of the coronavirus disease.
The lower house, while expressing its concern, wondered why schools were closed when the infection rates were around 500 and below, but now that it hovers well above 1000 infections daily, schools are being reopened.
This disclosure is contained in a statement titled, “School Resumption: Are We Truly Prepared?” which was issued by the Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education and Services, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, on Saturday, January 16, 2021.
Ihonvbere in his statement said that public enlightenment campaigns have more or less stopped, as merely saying that protocol would be adhered to is no guarantee with the situation even being worse in rural areas.
The house, therefore, demanded for the postponement of resumption of schools by 3 months, if some critical steps are not taken, so as to enable the local and state governments put things in place adequately.
He said that apart from Lagos and a couple of other states, governments have been unable to enforce Covid-19 protocols with people no longer wearing facemasks or use sanitisers, especially in secondary schools. There are no facilities for effective social distancing in the classrooms.
Ihonvbere said they have not heard how the schools would address the issues of introduction of morning and afternoon batches into the schools when they reopen to reduce overcrowding, special cleaning crews with sufficient sanitisers in classrooms, insisting on facemasks and sanitisers for the students and others.
What Prof. Ihonvbere is saying
The statement from the House partly reads,
- “The Committee on Basic Education and Services, House of Representatives, has received with concern the decision of the Federal Government to reopen schools on January 18, 2021.
- “We are particularly concerned that when the infection rates hovered around 500 and under, schools were closed; but now that it hovers well above 1,000 infections daily, schools are being reopened. Why are we rushing to reopen schools without adequate verifiable and sustainable arrangements to protect and secure our children?
- “Similarly, we acknowledge the argument that most young persons have not been as affected by Covid-19 and many are asymptomatic. Yet, it does not mean they have full immunity against the virus. We also know that they would be working and interacting with adult teachers, administrative workers and other persons that do not live within the institutions.
- ‘’People no longer wear facemasks or use sanitisers. Public enlightenment campaigns have more or less stopped. Merely saying they would adhere to the protocols is no guarantee. In rural areas, the situation is worse.
- “Our position is that in spite of the very comprehensive protocols established by the Federal Ministry of Education, not up to 10 per cent of our educational institutions have implemented five per cent of the protocols. In most of our primary and secondary schools nationwide, adequate furniture, water and other sanitation and hygiene facilities do not exist.
- “As a government that has committed to protecting the interests of the Nigerian people, it would be wrong to allow unprepared state governments, of which many did not take the pandemic too seriously anyway, to hoodwink or pressure it into this reopening game.
- “The Committee believes that if these and other critical steps are not taken, there should be a postponement by three months to enable the local and state governments put things in place adequately. A word, they say, is enough for the wise.’’
What you should know
- The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, a few days ago, insisted on the January 18 resumption date for schools until the Federal Ministry of Education advises otherwise.
- The clarification became necessary following the earlier comment by the Minister for Education, Adamu Adamu, that government may review the resumption date following the outbreak of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic across the country.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON BASIC EDUCATION AND SERVICES, ABUJA.
SCHOOL RESUMPTION: ARE WE TRULY PREPARED?
The Committee on Basic Education and Services, House of Representatives has received with some concern the decision of the Federal Government to reopen schools pic.twitter.com/wehOd7QoXG
— Hon. Prof. Julius Ihonvbere,OON (@HonIhonvbere) January 16, 2021