The Federal Government has disclosed that the value of agricultural products exported from Nigeria to the United States in 2020 was $63m.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, said this on Tuesday in Lagos during the annual end-of-the-year dinner by the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce.
He said that out of that figure only $11m worth of goods benefitted from the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
The minister said that many Nigerian exporters were bringing goods to the US, but have not been able to access AGOA.
Adebayo said that the ministry intended to increase trade under AGOA up to $500m.
“The ministry has developed an AGOA response strategy and we intend to work with the community to increase trade under AGOA by $500m.”
The minister added that the country was not fully utilising AGOA the way it should be utilised.
Adebayo said that the country is currently one of the highest exporters of pebble and aromatic herbs to the US.
“Since the pandemic, alternative medicine use has increased and this is an area in which we are working so hard to make full use of it. We have more herbs but we are still not utilising the AGOA as much as we should.”
According to him, African countries had demanded the extension of AGOA beyond the 2025 date.
“We want the private sector to support the extension. Many US businesses are feeling the effect of the reduced imports from China and Europe due to the Russian-Ukraine conflict. Nigeria has the opportunity to feel a lot of these demands,” he remarked.
Earlier, the National President of NACC, Adebola Williams, said that the significance of the event was to round off a successful year, though the year was rough business-wise.
“It is a tradition for us to have an annual dinner in December, especially when we feel we had a good year. Definitely, this year has been a very rough year but what we are doing today is a celebration. It cannot be complaints all the way. We have a business session which we do almost twice a month for our members and we also invite people. At the same time there must be an occasion where we celebrate and this is one of them,” she stated.
Speaking on the recently introduced withdrawal limit by the Central Bank of Nigeria, she said, “I support the CBN policy on cash withdrawal limit. Because I think the explanation they have given us, it would cut down the numerous crimes happening in our society. For example, kidnapping. We feel this will reduce the rate at which kidnappers move money. And then, we are getting close to the election period where a lot of money is thrown about and I feel this policy will also address that.”
Williams, however, advised the government to scrap fuel subsidies, describing it as an avenue for some people to milk others.