- African Growth and Opportunity Act
TRALAC - Trade Law Centre
You are here: Home/News/Article/Nigeria: Push for increased non-oil export to UK, US intensifies

Nigeria: Push for increased non-oil export to UK, US intensifies

Nigeria: Push for increased non-oil export to UK, US intensifies
Workers sort packs of AfriOne Gravity Z1 smartphones during a launch event at the new AfriOne Ltd. manufacturing plant in Lagos, Nigeria
Published date:
Friday, 11 May 2018

To stimulate non-oil export and diversify the economy, the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce and the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce are leading a campaign to further open up United Kingdom’s and United States’ markets to Nigerian non-oil exports.

They are exploring opportunities in increased intra-Commonwealth trade and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Experts say these can be the much-needed tonic to reposition the non-oil sector, fast-track industrialisation and create jobs. 

Nigeria’s transition to a non-oil economy is on course. The snag, however, is that the process being pushed by export-promoting agencies and regulatory authorities in the sector appears not to be moving as fast as exporters and other key stakeholders want.

Many of them, who hold this position, expect that for an economy still evidently bearing the scars of recession, efforts by the public and private sectors to put it back on track through diversification should have been more compelling and fast-tracked.

It was against this backdrop that the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) and the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), in collaboration with trade groups, export-promoting agencies and regulatory authorities are leading a renewed campaign to stimulate the non-oil export sector.

The chambers, with their partners, are essentially seeking to further open up the advanced markets of the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA) to Nigerian non-oil exports.

The NBCC is seeking to drive trade volume between Nigeria and the UK by promoting made-in-Nigeria products, particularly non-oil goods. The chamber believes that by encouraging increased intra-Commonwealth trades, particularly between Nigeria and the UK, both countries could achieve the projected trade volume of about £20 billion by 2020.

For the British High-Commissioner, Mr. Paul Arkwright, the Nigerian Government and, indeed, other developing Commonwealth countries can achieve increased non-oil export trade volumes if they engage in what he called “competitive exports.”

“The fact is if you talk to any economist who understands the way developing counties emerge from poverty into a state where they are no longer developing but developed countries, the one key thing that turns them from developing to developed countries is competitive exports,” Arkwright said.

That was when he appeared on a special television programme to review the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in London recently. He noted that CHOGM was about increasing intra-commonwealth trade by facilitating trade among member-countries.

The British Envoy added that there has been a massive trade among the 53 Commonwealth member-countries, pointing out that the trade between the UK and Nigeria is huge. He added that the Commonwealth is not just about the UK, but it is a family of nations and every member-nation stands the chance of equal benefit.

He stated that developing nations have no other option than to trade in a global world. According to him, the world trade has increased enormously and the trade between two Commonwealth countries is 20 per cent cheaper, compared with the trade with non-Commonwealth countries.

The British High-Commissioner, however, clarified that while the Commonwealth tries to reduce the barriers faced by developing countries in the area of trade, it does not mean that they would be flooded with cheap goods from other countries.

Indeed, before Arkwright’s call for competitive exports, the NBCC has been making efforts to ensure that Nigeria meets global export criteria in order to ensure goods from the country are accepted, particularly in the UK. The Chamber has been partnering with the private sector to see how it can provide facilities that will enable exporters meet standards.

Its President, Akinola Olawore, also said recently that NBCC plans to attract foreign direct investment into Nigeria, particularly from Britain and also promote efforts to build the country’s capacity to meet global export standards that could boost trade and investment portfolio.

The NBCC is also said to have earlier led a delegation of Nigerian exporters to London to explore partnership opportunities and showcase Nigerian non-oil exports. The UK trade mission, The Nation learnt, included private and public sector operators.

There were also discussions between the NBCC and London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and other stakeholders on how to smoothen the process of Nigerian non-oil exports to UK.

The NACC, on the other hand, is pushing to encourage Nigeria to take advantage of the US’ duty-free trade policy, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), to grow her non-oil export.

AGOA is the cornerstone of US trade and investment policy in Africa. The programme, which was signed into law by the US Congress in 2000, is a preferential trade agreement between the US and some eligible sub-Saharan African countries that allows the exportation of certain products into the US market tariff and quota-free.

The free-duty export programme essentially seeks to increase market access to Nigeria and 38 other eligible Sub-Saharan African countries to export about 7, 000 product lines to the US market.

The programme’s ultimate aim was to give Nigeria and other qualified African countries opportunity to build capacity in the global markets and also create jobs. Although, the Act initially covered eight years (October 2000 to September 2008), amendments signed in July 2004 extended it to September 30, 2015.

The US Congress later extended it for additional 10 years, which means that it now expires on September 30, 2025. And encouraged by the 10-year extension, NACC has stepped up efforts at promoting the expansion of US trade and investment in Nigeria through support of business partnerships between American and Nigerian companies.

In doing so, it’s National President, Chief Olabintan Famutimi, said that AGOA has proven a powerful tool for the promotion of export of goods from Nigeria and other African countries into the US. He, however, regretted that despite Nigeria’s enormous material and human resources, she remains Africa’s least beneficiary of AGOA.

Indeed, through AGOA, Nigeria can export 6,500 products duty free into the US market. This, according to development experts, is an opportunity unprecedented considering the huge market under consideration.

According to them, some of the products Nigeria can leverage on are garlic, natural honey, potato, onion, tomato, cucumber, vegetables, cabbage, chicken, goats, and milk. Others include fish, eggs, peas, beans, corn, okra, kola nuts, guava, mango, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, papayas, rice, and wheat.

Famutimi said the Chamber remained committed to promoting AGOA in Nigeria to help give fillip to the Federal Government’s on-going non-oil export drive aimed at diversifying the economy. Speaking at the Chamber’s Breakfast Meeting held in Lagos, recently, he said Nigeria could take advantage of the renewal of AGOA for another 10 years to earn huge foreign exchange and create jobs.

The NACC chief added that this was why the Chamber was partnering with strategic agencies to champion the cause for the effective implementation of AGOA in Nigeria through public sensitisation, access to finance and access to off-takers in the US.

The agencies include US Agency for International Development (USAID) and its various projects, such as Nigeria Expanded Trade and Transport (NEXTT) and West Africa Trade and Investment Hub (WATIH); Nigeria Export Promotions Council (NEPC), Bank of Industry (BoI).

Other strategic agencies involved in NACC’s renewed campaign to galvanise activities in the non-oil sector by riding on the back of AGOA include the Nigeria Export-Import (NEXIM) Bank, commercial banks; Nigerian regulatory agencies, such as Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Already, the Chamber, according to Famutimi, had done a lot of training, workshops, sensitisations, and had participated in international ventures and had worked effectively with USAID.

“We are moving and we are showing results already,” he stated, adding that with AGOA, Nigeria’s export to the US had increased far more than before.

He also said arrangements are being made for small producers to be part of the programme so as to increase their capacity, as America offers a huge market.

“We are opening the market; we are getting stakeholders and showing them the quality and packaging requirements to enter the US market,” Famutimi added.

In carrying out their campaigns, both chambers emphasised the need for Nigeria to boost non-oil export by diversifying into agricultural products, noting that exporting more of agricultural products will brighten the country’s chances of claiming a significant share of the world trade.

They also argued that stimulating the non-oil export sector will enhance the Federal Government’s revenue generation drive and also create jobs.

To the trade groups, an increased and competitive non-oil export is a sure-footed way to drive the on-going economic diversification campaign and ultimately, fast-track Nigeria’s industrialisation.

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the NEPC could not agree less.  And to demonstrate their belief in driving the non-oil export sector, LCCI and NEPC recently inaugurated an implementation committee with the primary mandate to grow the exportation of Nigerian products to the West African market.

The committee comprising regulatory agencies in the export sector such as SON, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), and NAFDAC, was also tasked with the responsibility of driving the actualisation of a project tagged “Nigeria ECOWAS Export Development (NEED)”.

The committee Chairman, Mr. Bamidele Ayemibo, described the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) market as largely untapped potential for Nigeria’s non-oil exports.

He said the NEED project would see more agricultural products in Nigeria such as cereals, snacks, plastic products, pharmaceuticals, fish and sea foods easily produced in the country and exported to the regional market.

“The effective implementation of NEED programme is key to conquering the West Africa and indeed, the African markets, especially for the medium scale businesses, and this can only be possible if this public-private partnership works,” Ayemibo said, at the inauguration of the committee.


Read related news articles

Kenya shows Nigeria’s missed textile, apparel export opportunities with AGOA

Duty- and quota-free access to the United States of America’s market granted by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has played a significant role in boosting trade and investment between sub-Saharan Africa and the US. Many qualifying African countries have achieved notable successes in exporting goods under Agoa to the US. These successes include textiles and apparel from Kenya, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Lesotho, Ghana, and...

03 April 2024

'Nigeria missing as Kenya, Ghana tap AGOA opportunities to boost foreign exchange earnings'

Africa’s biggest economy is still failing to tap the opportunities that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) present to boost its foreign exchange, amid acute dollar shortages. The AGOA has been on for over twenty-three years as it was enacted in 2020. In 2015, the program was modernised and extended to 2025, implying that there are only about 15 months before the window closes. Some countries have taken advantage of the AGOA more...

05 February 2024

US treasury Deputy Secretary Adeyemo visits Lagos, discusses duty-free access to the US market with local entrepreneurs

Nigerian-born United States Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Wally Adeyemo, will be in Lagos, Nigeria between September 17 – 19, 2023, for a number of diplomatic engagements including a meeting with entrepreneurs and start-ups to discuss how they can sell their products by exploring “duty-free access” to the US market. Duty-free access is the permission given by a host country for another country to export goods into their country...

18 September 2023

Nigeria: US to 'create jobs for Africans through trade, investments in tech, infrastructure'

The United States govern­ment has expressed its willingness to create jobs through increased trade and investment in sectors such as agriculture, technology and infrastructure, as well as boost innovation and elevate the living standards of mil­lions of Africans. The U.S. Consul General, Will Stevens, disclosed this at the Africa Social Impact Summit 2023, themed: “Global Vision, Local Action: Reposi­tioning the African...

10 August 2023

AGOA: Nigeria’s untapped opportunity for non-oil export, rights enforcement

IN 2000, President Bill Clinton’s administration passed special trade laws to promote trade ties between the US, Africa, and the Caribbean. One of the enactments was the African Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA. To be eligible to access the benefits of the Act, participating countries are required to meet certain criteria set by the US government. Among the long list of requirements is the adherence to international human rights...

23 May 2023

Take advantage of AGOA to boost exports, Minister urges Nigerians

The Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), Adeniyi Adebayo has urged Nigerians to take advantage of the African Growth Opportunity Act, (AGOA). Adebayo said this when he received the report of the Technical Committee on the utilization of AGOA in Abuja on Tuesday. The report which was delivered by the Co-chairman of the Committee and Director of Trade, FMITI Suleiman Audu on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee and...

02 May 2023

Nigeria: Garment factory to create 2,000 direct jobs, utilize AGOA

Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, at the weekend, said the state’s garment factory will be inaugurated this year with a take off capacity to hire 2,000 direct labour. Speaking with dozens of APC youths, progressive social media influencers, and some online news publishers on Saturday, the governor said the idea is to make Kwara a hub for garment production, which can then benefit from the African Growth and Opportunity Act...

26 August 2022

Nigeria: US-American chamber seeks shippers’ nod to boost non-oil exports

The Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) has sought partnership with Nigerian shippers to maximally utilise the United States’ African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). AGOA is a key component of US/African strategy that focuses on increasing African non-oil exports to the US. The Executive Secretary of the Abuja chapter of NACC, Ayo Salaam, disclosed that Nigerian companies had not taken advantage of AGOA because they exported...

12 June 2022

Nigerian shippers urged to take advantage of second chance of AGOA

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian – American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), Mr. Ayo Salam has urged Nigerian exporters, in particular, shippers to take advantage of the second window of opportunities by African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which lapses in September 2025 to advance trade and export with the United States of America. This is as he promised to assist Nigerian exporters and shoppers leverage on the 6500 export items...

09 June 2022

Nigeria, US to leverage AGOA for improved trade ties

The United States of America (USA) Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, has disclosed that Nigeria will continue to be eligible for preferential trade access to the US market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Leonard, during a visit to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, said Nigeria became eligible after a review of the criteria set by the US Congress under AGOA. According to her, the...

01 June 2022

AGOA to stimulate Nigeria’s economic growth – NEPC

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has called on exporters to take advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to stimulate the country’s economic growth. NEPC Executive Director and Chief Executive Director, Dr Ezra Yakusak, said this at a sensitisation workshop on eligibility criteria and documentation for AGOA organised by the Council in Owerri on Monday. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the AGOA is...

07 February 2022

You are here: Home/News/Article/Nigeria: Push for increased non-oil export to UK, US intensifies