TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Nigeria: Partnering to enlighten local SMEs on export compliance issues

Thursday, 05 September 2013

Source: Business Day (Nigeria)

In furtherance of its commitment to develop local productive capacity and encourage export of Nigerian made products, the Bank of Industry (BoI) has partnered the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), on free training of local producers on the specifics of regulatory requirements for exports to America under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

AGOA was signed into law on May 18, 2000 as Title 1 of The Trade and Development Act of 2000. The Act offers tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets.

Speaking at a seminar organised for Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SME) operators at BOI corporate headquarters in Lagos, Ogochukwu Mainasara, director, Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Directorate, NAFDAC, enjoined participants to comply with regulatory standards, stressing that the only difference between Nigerian made products and imported products was compliance with standards.

Describing food safety as the assurance that any food is safe, Mainasara expressed concern that Nigerian SMEs had not reaped the full benefits of the AGOA, adding that a lot of food products exported to Europe and America suffer rejection due to non-compliance with regulatory standards as spelt by the agency.

While noting that Sam and Sara, a firm into garment production, had already keyed in to the AGOA initiative and had commenced exports of its products to the US and with a target to employ about 3,000 over the next five years, she enjoined local manufacturers to obtain certifications from NAFDAC before exporting their products to save them losses arising from product rejections in foreign markets.

According to her, a potential exporter requires about five free export certificates from the agency covering combined certificate of manufacturing and free trade; health certificate for semi-processed and processed commodities; export approval for personal items, among others.

“Right now we are having issues with the European Union. They are rejecting our melon seeds. The European Union has told us that if we don’t get our acts right, they will ban melon seed outright. We have passed a law that it must undergo 100 per cent testing in Nigeria before we could certify it for export,” Mainasara said.

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