By Henry Uche, Lagos
The Nigerian-American Chamber Of Commerce (NACC) has expressed optimism that the bilateral business relationship between the two countries will remain strong under the incoming Biden administration.
NACC Director-General Olusola Obadimu made this known in a telephone interview with our correspondent.
The DG maintained that the United States already has a window of preferential treatment open to exporters in several African countries, Nigeria inclusive, to encourage exports of non-oil and agricultural products into the United States under the AGOA Act, noting that programmes between the two countries are in the pipeline to better the lot of businesspeople under the NACC purview.
‘We have always had American envoys that are passionate about Nigeria, its development, people and even culturally. All these have contributed positively to the good bilateral relations we have always enjoyed with the United States over the years. We will expect Nigeria to continue enjoying these warm relations under the tenure of President Joe Biden,
Obadimu added that Competitive Price and quality of goods and services are indispensable of Nigeria would explore the advantage of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
‘Nigeria can only take advantage of AfCFTA if our goods and services are available on a competitive note, both on quality and price. Otherwise, there would be more inflows of goods and services from outside into Nigeria which would result in negative economic gains for us.
‘For us to benefit, we should be able to export more goods and services across borders than imports. And we can’t really compete without a sound infrastructure (power, good roads, etc). Remember if we don’t produce competitively for export, we can’t employ our citizens, that would amount to more inflows of goods & services (rather than outflows or exports) which would rather guarantee jobs for other citizens.’
He decried inefficient ports in the country adding that ‘if our ports are less organised and/or efficient than Benin or Togo ports, there’s no way we can compete across borders as those more efficient ports would ensure that there are more inflows of goods into Nigeria than outflows and we will continue to record deficit economically and stand at an economic disadvantage in trading with others.
‘So we must get infrastructure fixed, make manufacturing competitive and institute an enterprise-friendly environment generally less taxes, etc. Otherwise, it will be gains for other countries and to our own detriment,’ he stated.