TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

AGOA provides solution to real sector challenge’

Monday, 13 September 2010

Source: Nigerian Compass

The Commercial Counsellor of the Embassy of the United States in Nigeria, Rebecca Armand, has said to take the country’s real sector out of the woods, the immense opportunities presented by African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), must be utilised.

Also, Armand decried the country's negative attitude towards AGOA, saying many African countries have started benefiting from the scheme.

The commercial counsellor, made the remark during a breakfast meeting organised in Lagos by the Institute of Directors (IoD).

In May 2000, the US Congress approved legislation known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA, the purpose of the legislation was to assist the economies of sub-Saharan Africa and to improve economic relations between the United States and the region.

AGOA provides trade preferences for quota and duty-free entry into the United States for certain goods, expanding the benefits under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme.

Armand said utilising AGOA is a function of so many things.

“We understand that there are so many challenges here in Nigeria, particularly in Lagos, this includes power, telecommunications, bureaucratic among others. You must note that all these things contribute to global competitiveness and overcoming these challenges would put Nigeria on a global map of fast improving economy," she said.

Earlier, the President and Chairman of Council of IOD, Chike Nwanze, in his address, said it is obvious to all African countries including Nigeria to have over the years looked up to developed economies including the United States for aid and since then there have not been much achieved.

He said, "Nigeria and the United States have been longstanding trade partners that predate the former’s independence and would be further strengthened with the on-going reforms in virtually every sector of the Nigerian economy.”

On AGOA, the IoD president said the country had not seized the opportunities presented by AGOA.

‘’We are undermining the opportunities in AGOA. Nigeria businessmen truly have not done well in that area and I think really, it is because, AGOA is mostly involved in textiles and truly you can see what is happening or had happened to our textiles mills, it is a pitiful condition," the IoD president said.

Nwanze urged the governments to ensure that infrastructures including power, good roads, security, transportation system are put in place to help lift the economy.