‘Implementation of export strategy key to harnessing trade deals’
Worried that Nigeria is lagging behind in enjoying the benefits of market access created through several trade deals, stakeholders have tasked the Federal Government on implementing an export strategy that is truly committed to diversifying the economy from dependence on oil.
A former Director-General of the National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Dr. John Isemede said only detailed and planned export strategy will help the country address its challenges.
Speaking at a public presentation of five books based on the art of exporting goods by Abiodun Oyefeso, the president of Success Edge Exporters Limited and a member of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), export promotion council, Isemede said there must be balance of trade between imports and exports as the country is rushing to sign partnership agreements with other countries without looking at the critical details involved.
He said: “God has blessed Nigeria with so many resources compared to other nations but it is disgraceful the way we have gone about it to the extent that the country is so poor among the comity of nations.
“We must strive to succeed in exportation for us to be a great country and Nigerian ambassadors must also be made to work as Nigerians in diaspora are not remitting anything back home compared to citizens of other nations despite the fact that we are having professionals abroad”.
Also, the President, Nigeria American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), Chief Olabintam Famuti however said that the country is now set to fully utilise the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) programme after under-utilising her opportunities in the past.
Famuti said it was appalling that as at 2014, Nigeria only exported $6m worth of goods to the USA compared to $6 billion accounted for by other Sub-Saharan African nations.
Though AGOA programme has been on for the past 16 years, Nigeria has never taken full advantage of the potentials due to her over reliance on oil while other lesser Africans are turning around their economy with this programme.The AGOA project initiated by the United States of America in 2000 was to help develop trade and facilitate exporting over 6000 goods into America with no tariff.
The trade agreement primarily set up to galvanise the African economy covered 15 years and has since elapsed in 2015. However Nigeria and other Africa countries on the programme have been given a second chance when the programme was extended by another 10 years. Famuti said Nigeria’s over reliance on oil was the reason for the present economic predicament.
He lamented that the AGOA act, now renewed till 2025 by US congress after its first term from 2000 to 2015, was abused in its first term by Nigerian leaders who instead of maximising the opportunities by leveraging on the 6500 items allowed to be exported, relied only on crude oil.
He said NACC is working hard to make sure that Nigeria is made the third economic hub after the contract for the economic hub in Ghana expires this October, which will position the country to take full advantage of AGOA and focus on exportation of non- oil products.
Chairman of the event and chairman of Non-Oil development Plc, Dr Kola Christwealth said the country suffers from economic slavery due to over reliance on crude oil exportation.
He said: “We must know that economic independence is as important as political independence and for us to be economically free, we must forgo crude oil exportation which we are even failing at.
“The provision of local modular refineries should be made available across the country to refine other products aside oil, if we are to get the full advantage of our crude as that will create more jobs in the country”.
The author of the books, Abiodun Oyefeso said for the country to be developed, attention must be paid to the solid minerals deposits for which it has comparative advantage over other countries.
Oyefeso said Nigerians must take advantage of the huge market in the exportation business to make vision 2020 achievable and also because crude oil is gradually becoming a thing of the past in developed nations.
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