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‘How non-oil exporters can share in $8billion AGOA deal’

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Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has charged non-oil exporters to maximise the full potential of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), saying it will help the Federal Government in achieving its diversification goal and improve the economy.

Essentially under its extension, African countries would be engaged in the rules of origin to engender value-addition of raw materials as they could now include the cost of direct processing, as they share production from one country to another on their way to the U.S market.

Indeed, the United States (U.S.) had last year, revalidated the AGOA by 10 years, to elongate the flagship trade deal with the continent till September 30, 2025.

The new window may have re-opened vista for Nigeria and other countries in the region to grow their present $4.8 billion worth of non-oil exports to the U.S. to over $8 billion within the next 10 years, under the extended trade deal.

Speaking at a one-day workshop on the documentation and procedures of AGOA, NEPC’s South West Regional Coordinator, Babatunde Faleke, who decried the low patronage of the act said, Nigeria’s non-oil export potential has not been fully exploited.

Faleke said: “I am surprised people don’t know about AGOA and its benefits. The beauty is easy to mainstream, AGOA gives duty-free, which is minimal for every non-oil exporters.

“We discovered that the main issue is documentation. At the council, we do a lot of product development and packaging to make sure our non-oil exporters conform and produce in line with international best practice. We want to start doing well under AGOA.”

He noted that the council has concluded plans to sign an agreement with American sea cargo, which would help non-oil exporters’ network with their counterparts and serve as an off taker of goods.

In her remarks, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Poise Capital Global, Comfort Sakoma, said Nigeria’s trading over the years has been oil and gas, it is imperative we focus on non-oil export. Nigeria as at now, has zero dollars in porous products like textile, foot wears, minerals and chemical related products with United States.

“The little issues with branding, packaging and process within organisations have a large impact on our capacity to function. For instance, Ethiopia has done great job organising their communities to rally against what their shrinks are. Ethiopia did $30 million on sales on footwears last year taking advantage of AGOA. The power of collaboration and strategic alliance,” she said.

She reiterated that one of the primary issues aligned with exporters, is noncompliance to necessary documentation procedures.

“ To this end, in partnership with NEPC, we would be selecting 12 companies nationwide in four categories ranging from foot wears, textile and garment, agriculture and cosmetics starting from next month. The qualified companies would be provided with financial and non-financial resources to ensure they are able to compete going forward.

“We are going to ensure that by 2018, there are exports and exporters into United States,” she said.


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