As part of its efforts in expanding international competition of exporters and boosting the nation’s economy, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in collaboration with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) recently held a round tale meeting with entrepreneurs in the Arts and Craft industry.
During the event which took place at the NEPC conference hall, Apapa, Lagos, the entrepreneurs were intimated with current trends in the sector and how to export their works and the abounding opportunities of earning foreign exchange.
The participants who included fashion designers, beaders, sculptors, etc., were told to be original as works which are not indigenous do not meet export requirements as stipulated by AGOA.
Regional Coordinator, South West, NEPC, in a chat with the press disclosed that synergy between the NEPC and the entrepreneurs is needed to aid international trade, hence reason for the meeting.
“The essence is to engage people in art and craft, to understand and appreciate their products for export and see how we can help them especially under those under AGOA.
“We have not been able to maximise our AGOA opportunity for a long time and like I said art and craft is an order of creativity and ingenuity, it’s about all artistic work which is appealing to the international market.
“So we will be looking at the position where we will engage them, let’s know what their challenges are, let’s know what role we need to play, let’s develop a synergy so that we can move that sector forward and to also introduce to them and let them know what it takes to export under AGOA,” Faleke stated.
Continuing he said, “There are rules under AGOA. There are opportunities for them, so we need to hear from them and they need to hear from us and we exchange ideas and see how we will move this sector forward, that’s what we want to do.”
Asserting that the meeting is surely geared towards boosting the economy, he added, “By the time we are engaged we will know what we need to do and what they need to do. Maybe there are things that they are not doing rightly, it can be about documentation and information.
“Information is key and it Is both ways, if you don’t have information from them about what they need and we don’t tell them what to do, there will be problem. So we need to talk, if we engage like this we will be able to sort out a lot of things and we will move forward.”
Mrs. Bolanle Emmanuel, Head, AGOA Training Resource Center, Lagos, corroborated that the essence of the programme is to be able to get the people in the art and craft industry together because their products are AGOA eligible.
“We want them to export under AGOA, a lot of them have not heard about AGOA, they don’t know what it takes to export under AGOA and they don’t know the specific art and craft to export.
“So that’s why we organised this programme so that we can enlighten them, get to know their challenges; why they are not exporting art and craft to the U.S.A and get to know what and what support we could render to them,” she stated.
Emmanuel, however, noted finance to be one of the challenges faced by would-be exporters as well technical know how.
On how AGOA can help overcome the noted challenges facing the would-be exporters, she shared, “Looking into their challenges, we would get experts in art and craft that can really enlighten them on what and what they can do and how they can start exporting free under AGOA to U.S.A.
“And we are going to involve specialists from the U.S and customs as well so that there won’t be issues of U.S customs not allowing them,” she said.
Story by:C. Abiaziem