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Why Nigerian exporters are yet to harness AGOA window over the years—NEPC

Participants and mainly officers and men of the Nigerian Customs Services (NCS) who were recently trained on the ABC of documentation procedures on the utilization of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) have expressed readiness to impact the needed knowledge on prospective exporters wishing to avail the windows provided by the US Act.

This is coming on the heels of a training and capacity building programme carried out by the South West directorate of the Nigerian Export promotion Council (NEPC) in Lagos weekend.

The workshop organized for Customs formation in the region was to provide technical support in the administration of the window, especially in the process of documentation to gain from the AGOA.

The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), enacted by the US government under former President Barrack Obama in the year 2000, is a legislation empowering countries of the sub-Saharan Africa to export some products to the US on duty free basis.

The export opportunity which was supposed to last from 2000 to 2020 has just been extended to 2025.

According to Babatunde Faleke, NEPC South West Coordinator of NEPC, “What we intend to achieve from the training is to bring Customs officer from the region to know more on the modalities of documentation so as to assists exporters’ to gain from the window”.

“Recall that the Customs men here will be the last to see the products from Africa before export and the US Customs will be the first to see the products, so we need to educate our Customs on what to do so that it will be a win-win situation rather than rejection on arrival.

The meeting is important because if at this end it is not properly done, there it will not be positive.

So we are here to build the capacity of Customs in the ABC of AGOA documentation. For example we have been able to identify all the different products that fall under AGOA. It’s left for Customs to now educate exporters on what and how to package products under AGOA window which has now been extended.

Explaining more, the US and international facilitators of the training said Nigerian exporters need to do more in packaging their products to meet the minimum standards.

….said Nigerians are yet to make good use of AGOA. It has not been well used by Nigerians and it’s not so good because it’s a window for growth and not underdevelopment. Nigerians are more interested in oil products than AGOA products.

So we intend to explain more and raise awareness so that they can deepen their interest in the use of the AGOA window.

This is a window for producers of textiles visas and agricultural products to raise their game and grow their business with ease.

Nigerians need to claim AGOA. A lot of people do not know how to claim AGOA and that is what we are training Nigerians on.

All we are doing is to train Customs who are the last to supervise AGOA bond products to make sure that no product comes back after shipment due to improper documentation.

Business Hilights understands that in the administration of AGOA policy, 38 African countries are eligible for the window including about 7,000 products line tariff and quota free to the US.