Business group frowns at US dictatorial price policy under AGOA

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Fourteen years after the introduction of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) by the US government to facilitate trade with the continent, a Nigerian business group has frowned at a situation whereby America is dictating the price of what they buy from Nigeria.The local media Thursday quoted the Director General of the National Association of Chambers of Commerce Industries, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Mr. John Isemede, as saying AGOA had not be quite beneficial to the country because the US, apart from insisting on certain standard, dictates the prices.

“For 14 years Nigeria has been on it but what has been the take home from AGOA; who has AGOA made millionaire in Nigeria?

“I am not saying we should pull out; am not condemning it, however, for Nigeria to continue, we have to assess how did we start; where are we today; are we to go ahead with the old system or there will be some adjustments? That is where experts from the private sector and universities have to come in,” Mr. Isemede said.

He said NACCIMA frowns at a situation whereby America is dictating the price of what they buy from the country, which does not augur well for the members.

“If you are taking produce from Nigeria and we can’t meet your standard, you had better come and invest in Nigeria or bring your own experts to come and teach us the standard.

“You asked for ABCD products and you have every right to determine the quality and quantity but you don’t have every right to determine the price for what you don’t produce. What is the essence of determining quality when you have not even worked with our people?” the NACCIMA boss queried.

AGOA is a US preferential trade programme established in May 2000 to provide duty-free access to the US$3 trillion U.S. market for thousands of products from eligible sub-Saharan African countries.

As of August 2014, 41 sub-Saharan African countries were eligible to participate in AGOA.

According to the 2013 AGOA data published by US Trade and Commerce Department, Nigeria exported products worth US$5,403,000 compared to South Africa’s US$3,667,783.

Lesotho (US$320,879,000), Mauritius (US$199,268,000), Kenya (US$342,502,000), Angola (US$66,000,000), Cameroon (US$21,650,000) and Ghana (US$34,673,000) are some of the other figures.

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