The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Regional Coordinator for South West, Mr. Babatunde Faleke has called on garment manufacturers in Nigeria to be beneficiaries of the AGOA Visa Stamp.
The NEPC AGOA Trade Resource Centre recently unveiled the AGOA Textile Visa Stamp.
The Textile Visa Stamp, according to the NEPC, would enable garment manufacturers in Nigeria to have tariff concession on textile and garments manufactured in the country for export to the United States under AGOA.
Speaking at the event in Lagos recently, Faleke, described the AGOA Visa Stamp was a great advantage for apparel and textile manufacturers to enjoy duty free exports.
"AGOA Visa Stamp is very important because it allows you to export duty free to America because duty on apparel to America ranges from eight per cent to 32 per cent.
"The AGOA Visa Stamp allows you export to the USA duty free, so if you export duty free it gives you comparative advantage over those who are not qualified to export under AGOA, it makes you to export under AGOA, it open doors for you, it makes you tap into the large international market.
"The prerequisite is that you must be a player there and again you must have certificate of origin, you must be AGOA compliance, your documentation must be right. Documentation is what is important, then let the Nigerian Customs stamp your product as AGOA compliance."
He, however, expressed concern over imported used clothes in Nigeria.
"The way out is that we have to improve on quality because people say that those second hand garments are more qualitative, so every player in the industry must need to be conscious of quality.
"Everybody wants things to wear, they want something that is durable and cheap so also we need to do the right thing, make the price competitive, government is not encouraging second hand clothing but people are still smuggling it in.
"The challenges are that we don't have hub. The capacity to produce en-masse is lacking in the country. If we have a 100,000 shirt order now how many people can meet it within the specified time? Efficiency is low, skill gap is there, energy cost of production is low, a lot of challenges are there," he concluded.
In his remarks, a facilitator at the event, Emmauel Odonkor, said, "there are factories in Nigeria that have the potential to produce for the US market.
" The USA established AGOA and there are garment manufacturers that can meet up. You can identify a number of them,there are three factories than I can say they have the potentials with the right technical support to produce for the USA market."