The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has called on exporters to take advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to stimulate the country’s economic growth.
NEPC Executive Director and Chief Executive Director, Dr Ezra Yakusak, said this at a sensitisation workshop on eligibility criteria and documentation for AGOA organised by the Council in Owerri on Monday.
AGOA is a legislation approved by the US congress on May 18, 2000 for a 15 year-tenure to assist the economies of sub-Saharan African countries by providing duty-free treatment to over 6,400 goods from the target countries.
Former President Barack Obama-led government however signed into law the Trade Preferences Extension Act 2015, extending AGOA and other critical US preference programmes by 10 years.
Speaking on the theme: ‘Leveraging on AGOA to Boost Nigeria Export to the US Market’, Yakusak, represented by a senior official of the NEPC, Mr Peter Njoku, expressed disappointment that more than 20 years after the enactment of AGOA, Made-in-Nigeria products were yet to be seen in major malls in the US.
” With less than four years to the end of the AGOA Act, Nigeria’s non-oil sector must optimise the benefits of the legislation by leveraging on any available opportunity because there is huge potential in the US market,” he said.
Speaking, NEPC’s Trade Promotion Advisor in Imo, Mr Anthony Ajuruchi, described the AGOA as a “great window of opportunity to increase Nigeria’s export to the US.”
He urged operators of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises to take advantage of the AGOA to showcase Nigeria to the rest of the world.
Also speaking, the Imo State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr Simon Ebegbulam, restated the state government’s commitment to provision of an enabling environment for economic activities to thrive in the state.
He added that the state government, in collaboration with the UN Industrial Development Organisation was producing an industrial policy that would recognise the comparative advantage of all local councils and their peculiar needs.
Also, Mr David Aderibigbe, a resource person, urged exporters to increase their knowledge of quality and standard regulatory requirements as well as procedures for documentation of export products so as to maximise profit.
Mrs Amaka Onwumere, an exporter and pharmacist, thanked the NEPC for organising the workshop and called on participants to put the knowledge garnered from the event to good use.