Non-oil Exporters Resenting Opportunites Offered By AGOA, Says NACC
The Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce has said that Nigerian non-oil exporters are still not exporting to the United States of America under the American trade and development law-the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
The Chairman, NACC, Dr Oba Otudeko, made this remark at the annual dinner and inauguration of a new president, which held during the weekend.
The AGOA is a piece of legislation that permits African nations to export 6,000 commodities to the US, duty-free.
The legislation is in force till 2025, following an extension on June 29, 2015, by the Barak Obama administration.
Otudeko said that the rather low performance of Nigerian businesses in taking advantage of the AGOA was a source of major concern.
Citing data from the Office of the United States Trade Representative, Otudeko noted that bilateral trade between Nigeria and the US was $9.2bn in 2017.
He said,” It is hearty to note that NACC members have helped create the drops that have resulted in the $9.2bn pool.
“I am persuaded beyond any doubt that your president and his team will work assiduously to ensure that Nigerian businesses, your members, are better challenged, prepared and positioned to take advantage of the AGOA.”
Former President of the chamber, Chief Bintan Famutimi, had protested that unlike other African countries, who took advantage of the scheme to turn their economies around, Nigeria had never taken full advantage of the scheme due to its over-reliance on oil.
He lamented that in 2014, Nigeria only exported $6m worth of goods to the US, compared to $6bn accounted for by other Sub-Saharan African nations.
The President, NAAC, Otunba Toyin Akomolafe, said that in July and August, he represented the NACC at the Africa Trade and Investment Global Summit and the African Growth Opportunity Act in Washington DC, where he discussed how the United States could create better opportunities for trade with Nigerian companies.
He said, “My goal at these events was to develop opportunities for Nigerian businesses to gain exposure, funding and investment partnerships with the United States, through several facets of our emerging economy and burgeoning middle class.
“We discussed the opportunities for partnerships in renewable energy, waste management, healthcare, information and communications technology and development deals. The idea was to introduce, foster and deepen bi-lateral trading relationships to increase exports.”
The Federal Government has, however, unfolded a strategy to ensure non-oil products from Nigeria are duly accepted in the US.
According to the Deputy Director, Trade Department, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar, the products that are being considered for export under AGOA include sesame seed, cashew, tomatoes, oranges, cassava, spices and ginger.
Others are shea butter, cowpea, banana, plantain, cement, clinker, leather and articles of leather, arts and handicrafts, specialty foods and cocoa.