Manufacturers in the country lost out completely in the African Growth Opportunity Act of the Barack Obama administration, because they failed to be competitive.
AGOA, initiated in 2000, was meant to foster duty-free trade between the US and African countries.
According to Segun Awolowo, Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) the nation had not benefitted from AGOA because the country’s products were poorly packaged, and that it needed the government’s support to beat the test of time.
Awolowo who spoke to NAN on Monday, said, “Our participation in AGOA has not been very good, we are not even looking at that now, we want our goods to be competitive in every way in order to benefit from it.
“In fact, right now, we are not putting our hopes in it, as we have been having restrictions in prices, and other requirements on our exported products.
“Other African countries have been benefitting because they have worked on a level of competitiveness, and they have more government’s support for their locally manufactured goods.
Awolowo said that the council and the relevant government agencies were working on a new policy, “the zero oil policy.”
“We should ignore AGOA for now and focus on making our goods competitive in the global market. That is what we are trying to do.
“We have not been able to produce as we should. Besides, there is the problem of insurgency in the North, which has crippled our food production and packaging,” he said.
He added that the country for now could survive without AGOA pending when the necessary competitive apparatus were put in place.
Awolowo said that the council was also working on the repackaging of food and industrial products to overshadow the provisions of AGOA, and even pay duty if need be.
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