Abia State government has pledged to take full advantage of the African Growth Opportunity Act, AGOA, to boost the capacity of Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs in the area. This it said would help them produce high quality goods and services that meet globally accepted standards.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu made the pledge at the African Growth Opportunity Act Business and Economic Forum in Aba. Governor Ikpeazu said a quality assurance and management agency had been set up by the State government to ensure standardization of goods produced in the State, noting that obtaining the American certification for made in Aba products was vital to enable entrepreneurs to gain recognition in reputable international markets.
The Governor said one million pairs of shoes, and other leather works such as bags and belts were currently being exported by the State every week.
He stated that his administration would soon establish a free trade zone to create more business channels and stressed the need for closer collaboration with the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce. In a speech, the National President, Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce, Chief Olabintan Famutimi noted that made in Aba products were of high quality and urged entrepreneurs to be proud of what they produced by using Nigerian labels on their goods in the interest of the country.
He said the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce was determined to promote trade between the two countries and open avenues for local businesses to benefit from the enormous opportunities offered by the African Growth Opportunity Act, AGOA. Presenting a paper on Opportunities and Benefits of the African Growth Opportunity Act, a consultant, Mrs. Mary Fasudo urged the private sector in Abia State to explore available export options in the United States as AGOA provided free access to American markets.
Some participants in an interview, lauded the initiative and called for the removal of obstacles experienced in sourcing raw materials. The event featured exhibition of some made in Aba products such furniture, bags, shoes and clothes.