More Exports Expected Under AGOA, Says NEPC

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Bennett Oghifo

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has said it was optimistic that more exports would soon be done by manufacturers and others under the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA).

AGOA is a United States Law that was established in 2000 to provide a duty-free platform for African countries to export into the US. In 2015, the platform was extended by 10 more years to enable more exporters benefit from the opportunity. Experts observe that more African countries like Ghana, South Africa and Angola were exporting more volumes of specialty foods and agricultural commodities under AGOA platforms than Nigeria.

Speaking at an interactive session with non-oil exporters, the Lagos Zonal Coordinator, NEPC, Mr. Babatunde Faleke said the best way to generate revenue and foreign exchange, revenue and grow the naira was to improve on the volume of non-oil exports. Faleke said a growing number of exporters were already receptive to exporting under AGOA, more than before

when they knew little or nothing about it.

According to him, the platform would give Nigerians more opportunity to explore, look inwards, and build competitiveness in promotion and pricing of their goods, since AGOA was duty-free. “Exporters that are not exporting through AGOA are

cheating themselves. We urge more exporters to stop complaining and seek for assistance on how to go about it. “We admit that during the first tenure of AGOA, Nigeria did not do well at all in exporting under the platform, but now the difference is getting better. “This is why the NEPC has been engaging exporters and stakeholders themselves on the major challenges they have been facing in exporting both within

and outside AGOA.

“Today we have been able to see that lack of information, lack of adequate warehousing abroad, and the inability of Nigerians to meet up with the quantity demanded from foreign buyers as

some of the major challenges,” Faleke said.

He expressed optimism that more exporters were being trained by the council on ways to export under the AGOA platform in order to boost the volume of non-oil exports and generate revenue and create jobs.

A renowned exporter of food commodities and equipment, Mr. Sylvia Umejirika said exporters usually faced the challenges of warehousing their products before selling them completely.

The government, he said should provide warehouses in major cities like New York, New Jersey, Houston and other major cities, to encourage exporters to form clusters and utilise the warehouse and its administrative services.

According to Umejirika, the warehouse services would reduce the shipping processing time, which usually resulted to wastage of some perishable items being exported.

Another exporter, Mr. Faziz Uniz, an exporter of charcoal,

said that the government needed to provide more support and information to exporters to avoid major flops during exportation.

Uniz, who is a non-Nigerian, said the global market for Nigeria’s major commodities like yam, charcoal, Shea butter, and cashew was very huge but still unexploited.