The Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) has thrown its weight behind the federal government on diversification from oil to strengthen other sectors of the economy, especially agriculture. The bilateral body urges the government at all levels to show more political will towards diversifying the economy away from oil in 2017 as the country looks to recover from the current economic recession and the pain of a mono-product economy.
Speaking at the NACC annual dinner dance held recently, National President, NACC, Olabintan Famutimi, said the government must urgently look beyond oil and put more effort into diversification of the economy in 2017.
According to Olabintan, the “American government gave us a platform, an opportunity with Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) signed in 2000, but we have failed to key into that opportunity as a nation. For the whole of the first 15 years Nigeria never took advantage of it. Luckily for us, President Obama renewed it for another 25 years. Our greatest challenge today is promoting duty free export into America through AGOA.”
“I am pleased to announce that the Accra Ghana based USAID Trade Hub has approved the NACC as an AGOA Resource Centre, and automatically qualified to receive USAID ‘s technical and financial assistance to promote AGOA” he said.
In order to take full advantage of AGOA, NACC urged the government to encourage the relocation of all export processing companies in Nigeria into free trade zones so that they can be easily inspected for quality.
Olabintan opined that the government should look away from vested interest in the Nigerian Railway, and called on the federal government to, as a matter of urgent public interest, break the Nigerian Railway’s monopoly and thereby open up the sector for development and private sector participation.
Consul-General, US Consulate in Nigeria, John Bray, represented by Eric Eagleton said as the leading trade partner in Africa and one of the top 30 in the world, the Nigerian economy is highly linked to the United States.
According to Bray, NACC will play an important role to drive the US- Nigerian Commercial and Investment Dialogue (CID) established by President Muhammadu Buhari on his visit to New York in September.
Speaking further, he said NACC members embody entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to change, and a global outlook that characterize both the American and Nigerian business communities.