By Daniel Gumm
THE effect of the global economic meltdown may have strike Nigeriaâ€™s non-oil export sector as its earning dropped largely last year.
As at September last year, the earnings from non-oil export was put at $1 billion by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), down from from the $1.8 billion earned in the corresponding period of 2008.
Statistics released by the NEPC showed that in 2009, 37 companies uder the African Growth Opportuinities Act (AGOA) scheme exportedÂ $37.5 million and 286,224.53 pounds worth of various products to the United States of America. This was about $48 million less the amount that was earned in in the corresponding periodÂ of 2008 when a record of $86.5 million was realised.
The NEPC said it had concluded arrangements with an AGOA consultant to implement measures towards a full commercialisation of the human capital development centre, the AGOA Training School, in Lagos.
The centre was established to train Nigerians especially exporters and would-be exporters, on how to produce apparels, garments (including t-shirts, boxers, among others) that meet the requiste standard for the US maket.
NEPC Executive Director, Mr. David Adulugba told journalists recently that the poor response of Nigeriaâ€™s entrepreneurs to AGOA has been responsible for the non-competitive business environment they operate.
These challenges, he said â€œinclude but not limited to lack of functional infrastructure, high cost of funds and a myriad of taxes, which have resulted in increasing cost of production.
In aspite of these odds, the NEPC boss said he was optimistic that Nigerian entrepreneurs were taking advantage of the opportunities which AGOA offered.
He said that already, Kaduna and Bauchi states were consulting with NEPC towards establishing same centres in their respective states, but with adaptation to specific product areas of their comparative advantage, adding that the council would replicate the centre across the country.