Nigeria Can Generate 4million Jobs Through AGOA — Oladehinde
An American based Nigerian business expert, Fred Oladehinde has said if government can develop the Micro, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) sector, the sector can create four million jobs the in the country annually through African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
Oladehinde, President of the Foundation for Democracy in Africa, a Washington DC based NGO, made this known recently in Abuja
According to him, AGOA is a scheme that was initiated by the U.S. government in year 2000 to assist the economies of sub-Saharan Africa and to offer tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts towards opening their economies and build free markets.
Oladehinde noted that Nigeria had not really tapped the advantage of the scheme, but assure that his organisation is ready to work with the government and civil society organisations to explore the benefit of the scheme.
He added that the AGOA plan was to reduce unemployment through creation of 20 million jobs in Africa annually.
“We need to mobilise MSMEs so that we can improve and enhance not only the value chain from supply side but also include their participation in the global supply chain and create the needed jobs.
“As you know there is need for the creation of about 20 million jobs every year in Africa.
“And if you look at the size of Nigeria and the population, it means almost four million of this jobs will have to be created in Nigeria every year,” he said.
The Nigerian born-American said he was in Nigeria to work with some civil society organisations and some of government agencies to utilise the benefits of AGOA to create jobs.
“Civil society has a role to play to ensure that the vibrant policy environment by the federal, states and the local governments is in place to support the development and the nourishment of MSMEs,” he said.
He said that there was need for the government to also create functional clusters for the MSMEs operators where they could harness resources to meet the AGOA standards while adding that government should to provide incentives and increase budgeting for funding the MSMEs sector which he described as the engine room of economy.
“These are the birds that laid the golden eggs and so we should look at the investment in this engine of economic growth as the only way revive economically.
“The is the only way we create jobs for our youth and the only way that we can sustain our democracy,” he said
Oladehide said there is the need for Nigeria to align its trade policy to its strategic partners especially its AGOA partners.
He said that this would allow Nigeria to optimize the benefit of AGOA.
“This is access to one of the most lucrative markets in the world; in the U.S. you can bring in 6,500 products duty free into the U.S.
“The demand is huge; this is one market in the world that everybody craves for; everybody wants access to the U.S. market.
“And, if Nigeria is able to send our products to these markets that would allow us to create jobs, grow our businesses and pay taxes, it allows our airports to be very busy.
“It will allow us to reduce traditional cost in terms of cost to the citizens, and not only that it would also incentivise direct foreign from the U.S. into Nigeria,” he said.
He said, if Nigeria could key in to the scheme as it ought to, it would have impact on the nation’s socio-economic development and fast track its agenda on industrialization. He concluded that the creation of 20 million jobs annually will ultimately keep the youth engaged thereby reducing illegal migration to other countries