The National President of the Nigerian Association Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Dele Kelvin Oye, has said that deviation from globally-acclaimed and acceptable standards in the issuance of certificates of origin for goods being traded internationally portends great danger for Nigerian businesses and nation’s economy, noting that such move could deprive the country its ability to compete and attract foreign direct investments.
A certificate of origin is a document that indicates the nationality of a product as to where it was obtained, processed, and manufactured initially.
Speaking during a courtesy call on the Acting Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, Oye noted the role of NACCIMA in the issuance of the certificate stating, ”NACCIMA, as a Chamber of Commerce, is globally recognized as the representative of the business community in a specific geographical area. We, therefore, play an important role in the administration of the certificate of origin system by issuing certificates of origin and providing other services to businesses engaged in international trade”.
Giving details of anomalies in the current practice in Nigeria, Oye further stated: “Recently, we have observed attempts to take over this globally acceptable duty imposed on Chambers of Commerce by the procedure adopted in the issuing of the Certificate of Origin under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. NACCIMA appreciates that government by treaty can change the rules for issuing certificates of origin.
“However, such deviation from globally-acclaimed and acceptable standards make certificates issued under such policies unacceptable, depriving Nigeria of the ability to compete and attract foreign direct investment.
“It also places Nigerian businesses at the risk of our goods being rejected, as our colleagues (fellow Chambers of Commerce) in the destination countries may not accord such locally issued certificates recognition, as they were not issued in accordance with globally-recognized and acceptable practices.”
The NACCIMA boss also called for the establishment of a formal NACCIMA-Customs forum for public-private sector engagement as well as a Customs-NACCIMA Committee to re-examine the customs appeal procedures in Nigeria pursuant to Chapter 10 of the Revised Kyoto Convention.
He stated: “We request the establishment of a formal NACCIMA-CUSTOMS Forum for public-private sector engagement. We also need the buy-in of the NCS for a joint NCS-NACCIMA Committee to re-examine the customs appeal procedures in Nigeria pursuant to Chapter 10 of the Revised Kyoto Convention.”
He raised other concerns of the Chamber in Nigeria’s commercial sector, saying, “We also have several other concerns that we would like to raise with the Service. These include involvement of NACCIMA in the advanced ruling framework, sensitization on the new Customs Act, status of the E-Customs and modernization program, support for the development of E-commerce policy and operations in Nigeria, making NACCIMA a co-designated competent authority with NCS under the AfCFTA Rules of Origin requirements, closer cooperation in the ongoing self-certification pilot scheme with ECOWAS, technical support for NACCIMA Authorized Economic Operators, lack of appeal process on customs duties and rates, support for Economic Free Trade Zones and establishment of a framework for exhibition at trade fairs”.
Oye said the Chamber will sustain collaboration with Customs and other government agencies and parastatals to facilitate trade and boost economic growth.