The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, has inaugurated a technical committee on the utilisation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
This is contained in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja by the Director of Press in the ministry, Mr Adebayo Thomas.
Thomas quoted the minister as saying “the committee is mandated to streamline a work plan on AGOA utilisation with a target export volume of 500 million dollars to the United States.
“Further, the committee will provide strategic direction on AGOA implementation, monitoring, and evaluation in the country,’’ Adebayo said.
According to the minister, maximising the benefits of AGOA has become critical for the country, especially given the abundance of natural resources.
“As one of Africa’s largest economies, Nigeria must capitalise on global economic integration by gaining duty-free and quota-free access to U.S. markets,’’ he said.
Adebayo urged members of the committee to take the task seriously and work toward its successful completion.
Earlier, Dr Evelyn Ngige, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, acknowledged the efforts of various stakeholders in the implementation of AGOA in Nigeria.
While outlining efforts in validation and articulation of implementation strategies, Ngige said that inaugurating the committee was part of the ministry’s commitment to ensure that Nigeria takes advantage of AGOA which expires in 2025.
She also expressed the ministry’s commitment toward addressing challenges faced by Nigerian manufacturers and exporters in meeting labelling, packaging and product-specific standards.
Responding, the Co-chairman of the Committee, Dr Ezra Yakusak, the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), commended the ministry for being proactive.
Yakusak promised that the committee on AGOA would deliver on its terms of reference.
According to him, when it expires in 2025, AGOA will have had bipartisan support for more than a quarter-century.
He said that it would have also deepened the commercial partnership between the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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