TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Commerce Ministry Commissions American Consultant to Work On AGOA

Tuesday, 24 June 2003

Source: Vanguard (Lagos)

To ensure that export procedure contained in African Growth and Opportunity Acts are simplified for manufacturers, the Federal Ministry of Commerce has commissioned a United States-based export consultant - Manchester Trade Limited, to develop strategic export plan.

Vanguard gathered that the approval which was given before the dissolution of the federal executive council empowered the consultant working in collaboration with the implementation and advisory committee on AGOA to develop an elaborate export plan.

To evolve the strategic export plan, the consultants made nationwide visit to some selected companies in textile, leather/footwear, garment manufacturing and agricultural sectors in the country.

It was also gathered that as a step in developing the apparel industry and government medium term commitment towards the realisation of a targeted $500 million in non-oil exports to the United States by the end of the year, the Federal Government is said to have approved the establishment of Nigeria Apparel and Footwear Project (NAFP) under the United States- Nigerian Development Institute (USNDI). The overall scope and strategy for this project is to bring the manufacturing facilities, workforce, and supporting infrastructure of the initial seven selected apparel companies and three footwear firing up to international standard, so that Nigeria will produce goods that can compete successfully in the American market on the bases of price, quality and timeliness of delivery.

To encourage active participation of the private sector, the Federal Government organized and funded special trade delegation to the United States, South Africa, Mauritius and some African countries. The delegation included manufacturers in the foot/leather products, textile and apparel and other products. Exporters and the U.S importers on one hand, and the Nigerian exporters and importers from the rest of the world on the other. These linkages through trade missions have started yielding results through orders received by CIBI (a granite company) based in Kaduna and initial exports (though small in volume) to the U.S. by A. Lead Ltd, a footwear company in Aba.

Government has further created an enabling environment for the local industries to thrive through restrictive measures to check dumping of imported items, especially textiles, which are sold at prices below the actual cost of production. It is envisaged that these measures would allow for optimum capacity utilization of our companies thereby generating more jobs. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has also conducted a survey on export opportunities for Nigerian manufacturers in textile-based sewn products. The report which is very comprehensive would serve as a good guide for formulation of business plans for those interested in garment manufacturing.

Although Nigeria is yet to have an effective visa system under the AGOA textile and apparel provisions, it is hoped that the visa arrangement would be effectuated as soon as the National Assembly harmonises and passes the relevant bill on penalties for illegal trans-shipment and the visa system.