BY DANIEL GUMM
Bank of Industry (BoI) has siad that it is partnering with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), on free training of local producers on the specifics of regulatory requirements for exports to the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
The AGOA was signed into law on May 18, 2000 as Title 1 of The Trade and Development Act of 2000.
The act offers tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets.
Speaking at a seminar organised for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) operators at BoI in Lagos, Director, Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Directorate, NAFDAC, Mrs. Ogochukwu C. Mainasara, advised participants to comply with regulatory standards, stressing that the only difference between Nigeria made products and imported ones was compliance with standards.
Describing food safety as the assurance that any food is safe, Mainasara regretted that Nigerian SMEs do not reap full benefits of the AGOA Act, adding that a lot of food products exported to Europe and America suffer rejection due to non-compliance to regulatory standards as spelt by the agency.
She explained that Sam and Sara, a firm into garment production has already keyed into the AGAO initiative and had commenced export of its products to the US and with a target to employ about 3,000 over the next five years.
She therefore urged local manufacturers to obtain certification from NAFDAC before exporting their products to save them losses arising from product rejections in foreign markets.
She sid that a potential exporter requires about five free export certificates from the agency covering: combined certificate of manufacturing and free trade; health certificate for semi-processed and processed commodities; export approval for personal items among others.