The Federal Government has pleaded with the United States to lift its ban on the importation of Nigeria’s crude, describing the action as antithetical to the flourish of trade and economic cooperation upon which Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA, was founded.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Nigige, who made the plea, also told the American government to demonstrate stronger commitment to improve economic ties with African nations through balanced trade relations.
Senator Ngige made the plea at a Ministerial Roundtable meeting on Africa Growth and Opportunity Act at the Department of Labour Building, Washington D.C, United States.He said the stoppage of Nigeria’s crude importation had led to low foreign exchange receipts and consequent technical recession in some African countries.
Ngige, who led Nigeria’s delegation at the meeting to the round table, titled Trade and Worker Rights: Inclusive Economic Growth in Africa Through Trade on the Day One of the Roundtable, said the capacity of Nigeria to tackle anti-labour practices, such as child labour, cheap labour and human trafficking, was being hampered by dwindling resources, which the stoppage of the import of the Nigerian crude by the US had accentuated. He said poverty at the low income levels made the fight against anti-labour practices at the base difficult.
He urged the US to assist African countries in the entire agricultural value food chain of production, processing and preservation as well as give increase educational assistance to farmers.He said: “The founding ideal of AGOA is to foster a symbiotic economic cooperation between Africa and the United States. However, the capacity of the Africa nations such as Nigeria to effectively tap into the full potentials of the body is being checkmated by limited resources.”There is need therefore for America to rethink initiatives that once made AGOA attractive to African countries.