A textile value chain expert, Mr Emmanuel Odonkor, says Nigeria needs more public education and synergy between government and manufacturers to fully tap the opportunities of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
Odonkor, who is the co-Chief Executive Officer of Global Apparel Consultancy (GAC), gave the advice on Wednesday in Abuja.
AGOA is a trade legislation approved by the United States Congress in 2000 to, among others, improve economic relations between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa.
Specifically, the law allows exporters from sub-Saharan Africa countries to export some goods to the United States duty-free.
Under the policy, 38 African countries in the sub-region, including Nigeria, are eligible to export 7,000 product lines free of tariff and quota to the U.S. market.
Initially designed to last from 2000 to 2020, the tenure was extended to 2025.
Recently, Nigeria got the AGOA Textile Visa Stamp, which is an endorsement of the country’s textile and garment products meant for exporters of the products to the U.S.
However, Nigeria has not been able to take full advantage of the opportunity due to poor infrastructure, lack of industrial capacity by producers and poor quality of exports, among others.
Odonkor, a Ghanaian, said that many producers and exporters were either not aware of AGOA or ignorant of its operations.
This, he said, called for more public sensitisation and collaboration between relevant government agencies and exporters.
“Essentially, I always tell people that AGOA is a facility, but taking advantage of it is another thing.
“Producers must be ready to collaborate with government. Government has to identify potential exporters to guide into the international market, that is U.S. market in this case to enable them export successfully.
“When this happens, it will lead to job creation, revenue generation and poverty alleviation.
“This is a good facility that needs the intervention and support of government to the private sector to be utilised for economic development,” Odonkor said.
The GAC executive also urged the country to step up its infrastructure and industrial development efforts.
“The industry we see here are not really encouraging. Most of the settings we have seen are workshops with little machines and very low technical skills.
“This is a little challenge in terms of getting them in the export market which requires certain standards and qualities to enable you meet the demand of buyers,” he said.