The Nigeria Export promotion Council (NEPC) has initiated a partnership with the Nigeria-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) with a focus on generating American investment in the non-oil sectors of the economy.
Segun Awolowo, chief executive officer, NEPC, speaking at a meeting with Oluwatoyin Akomolafe, the NACC national president, said the initiative was geared towards leveraging Nigeria’s diaspora market to broaden export windows for local industries.
He said the collaboration will facilitate engagement opportunities between American and Nigerian industries under the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA), thereby encouraging expansion of production capacities especially in the agriculture and textile industries.
“It is for us to leverage on the NACC on how to increase trade in the US and we are looking at the AGOA African Growth Opportunity Act which Nigeria has not been very high on. We want the chamber to help us facilitate more business to business meetings particularly from American companies and get them to invest in Nigerian industries so that we can increase production of our goods for export. We are also looking at working with them on our programme called the Nigeria Diasporas Export Programme which leverages on Nigerians in the Diaspora. We have used the Diasporas mainly as a point of remittance but we have to look at them as an economy in every nation in which they reside because they eat and buy clothes. So why can’t it be Nigerian ones, so there is a lot to do with the chamber increasing non-oil trade,” Awolowo said.
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He said his mission was to make sure that AGOA was private sector driven and work very closely with government to make sure that the AGOA strategy was signed , adding, “we can activate and get clusters of exporters to harness them and earn foreign exchange for the country.”
According to the NACC president, the collaboration came aptly at a point when the chamber was seeking government’s endorsement of the AGOA roadmap designed to ease trading between the two countries.
He consequently urged the NEPC to back its advocacy for approval by the Ministry of Trade and Investment and the Federal Executive Council (FEC), noting that efforts were being harnessed to ensure that the AGOA is private sector driven, such that clusters of exporters will be able to leverage the opportunity under an enabling environment.
Prime in its agricultural focus, Akomolafe said, is the development of such cash crops cashew, cocoa and cotton for textiles.
“We are looking at how to corporate closely to adopt a prepared AGOA utilization strategy which is our main focus and I will rely on your support. There is need to have more senior representation on the AGOA committee at the ministry of trade. We need your support since this will be mainly private sector. Partnership for promotion of AGOA through capacity building and awareness should also be emphasized and we have a very strong team for that,” Akomolafe explained.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a United States Trade Act, enacted in 2000 to enhance market access to the US for qualifying Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries.
Qualification for AGOA preferences is based on a set of conditions including a market-based economy that protects private property rights, incorporates an open rules-based trading system, and minimises government interference in the economy through measures such as price controls, subsidies and government ownership of economic assets.