By Bimbola Oyesola
Nigerian exporters in the non oil sector can actually take Nigeria out of the wood and earn billions of dollars exporting goods to America through the full utilisation of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
Though AGOA programme has been on for the past 16 years, Nigeria has never taken full advantage of the potentials due to its over reliance on oil while other Africans are turning around their economy with this programme.
The AGOA project initiated by the United States of America in 2000 was to help develop trade and facilitate exporting over 6000 goods into America with no tariff.
The trade agreement primarily set up to galvanise the African economy covered 15 years and has since elapsed in 2015.
However Nigeria and other Africa countries on the programme have been given a second chance when the programme was extended by another 10 years.
The President, Nigeria American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), Chief Olabintam Famuti, however said that the country is now set to fully utilise the AGOA programme after under utilising its opportunities in the past.
Famuti said it was appalling that as at 2014,Nigeria only exported $6 million worth of goods to the USA compared to $6billion accounted for by other Sub-Saharan African nations.
Speaking at a public presentation of five books based on the art of exporting goods by Abiodun Oyefeso, the president of Success Edge Exporters Limited and a member of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), export promotion council, Famuti said Nigeria over reliance on oil was the reason for the present economic predicament.
He lamented that the AGOA programme, now renewed till 2025 by US Congress after its first term from 2000 to 2015, was abused in its first term by Nigerian leaders who instead of maximising the opportunities by leveraging on the 6500 items allowed to be exported, relied only on crude oil.
He said NACC is working hard to make sure that Nigeria is made the third economic hub after the contract for the economic hub in Ghana expires this October,which will position the country to take full advantage of AGOA and focus on exportation of non- oil products.
“It is a shame that most Nigerians rushed to the crude oil business yet they have not seen crude oil nor known what it is, we are all deceiving ourselves in this country”, he added.
Chairman of the event and chairman of Non-Oil Development PLC, Dr Kola Christwealth said the country suffers from economic slavery due to over reliance on crude oil exportation.
He said: “ We must know that economic independence is as important as political independence and for us to be economically free, we must forgo crude oil exportation which we are even failing at.
“The provision of local modular refineries should be made available across the country to refined other products aside oil, if we are to get the full advantage of our crude as that will create more jobs in the country”.
A former director-general of the National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Dr. John Isemede said only detailed and planned exportation strategy will take the country from recession.
Reviewing one of the books:” How to Succeed in Export Business”, he said there must be balance of trade between imports and exports as the country is rushing to sign partnership agreements with other countries without looking at the critical details involved.
He said: “God has blessed Nigeria with so many resources compared to other nations but its disgraceful the way we have gone about it to the extent that the country is so poor among the comity of nations.
“We must strive to succeed in exportation for us to be a great country and Nigerian ambassadors must also be made to work as Nigerians in diaspora are not remitting anything back home compared to citizens of other nations despite the fact that we are having professionals abroad”.
The author of the books,Mr Abiodun Oyefeso said for the country to be developed, attention must be paid to the solid minerals deposits it has comparative advantage of over other countries.
Oyefeso said Nigerians must take advantage of the huge market in the exportation business to make vision 2020 achievable and also because crude oil is gradually becoming a thing of the past in developed nations.
Among others, below are important guidelines for a would be exporter as recommended by Osifeso
•Registration, Yearly revalidation of certificate, Bank transactions, Quality certification, Shipment, Export certificate, Quality documents, Transport documents, Financial documents, Export certificate.