ECOWAS TRADE LIBERALIZATION SCHEME GETS ON STREAM IN NIGERIA WITH FACTORY INSPECTIONS

The National Approval Committee (NAC) of the Economic Committee of West African States’ Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) has commenced inspection of factories in 12 States in Nigeria towards cross border movement of their products under the scheme. The States are FCT, Kaduna, Kogi, Ogun, Kwara, Edo, Anambra, Lagos, Kano, Katsina, Gombe and Cross Rivers.

        Coordinated by the ECOWAS division of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs (FMoFA), the NAC consists of representatives of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), Federal Ministry of Finance (FMoF), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).

        Other members of the Committee are the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

        The Committee screened about 30 companies in March 2018 out of which 28 were granted provisional approval subject to the factory inspection exercise being carried out to ascertain their claims.

        Products considered under the ETLS include the following;

  • Wholly produced goods; goods whose raw materials completely originate from the region.
  • Goods which are not wholly produced but their production requires the exclusive use of materials which are to be classified under a different tariff sub-heading from that of the product.
  • Goods which are not wholly produced but their production requires the use of materials which have received a value added of at least 30% of the ex-factory price of the finished goods.

        Goods manufactured in free zones or special economic schemes involving suspension or partial or total exemption of entrance fees do not qualify for originating products status.

        The ETLS is the main ECOWAS operational tool for promoting the West African Region as a free trade area through regional cooperation and economic integration. It is a mechanism for ensuring free circulation of goods and services within the ECOWAS region with the abolition of customs duties levied on imports and exports as well as the abolition of non-tariff barriers.

        The factory inspections in the states were led by NAC focal points members along with the representatives of the FMoFA, while SON State Officers in the relevant fields participated in all the 12 states visited.

        The FCT team, led by SON’s NAC focal point member Mrs. Chioma Chidi-Anaukwu and the representative of FMoFA inspected Alibert Products Ltd. (Furniture); Binani Nigeria Ltd. (Exercise and Text Books) Leaf Tobacco (Cigarrete) and Ghurai Organic Fertilizer.

        In Ogun State, the NAC team, including Mr. Jide Jamodu of SON visited Shongai Technology Limited (Packaging materials), Vetri Industries (Paper) and Nestle Nigeria Ltd. (Food and Drinks).



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