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Chamber seeks U.S. embassy’s support for visa facilitation for SMEs

The Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) has sought the support of the U.S. embassy for easier visa facilitation for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

This, it said, was in line with the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a legislation approved to help and significantly enhance market access to the U.S for qualifying Sub-Saharan African countries.

Otunba Toyin Akomolafe, President, NACC, made the appeal on Saturday in Lagos in a report to commemorate the Chamber’s 60th anniversary.

The anniversary has: “The role of the private sector in 60 years of Nigerian-American partnership.’’

Akomolafe said the visa support for Chamber members and other support mechanisms would engender growth, stability and sustainability of SMEs and improve national economic outputs.

He lauded efforts of all NACC past presidents who dedicated themselves to keeping the flag flying irrespective of the vicissitudes of the operating environment.

“The Chamber has had its fair share of successes and challenges over the years.

“However, what has been consistent is the drive and commitment to our mandate in line with the vision of our founding fathers.

“Whatever we are doing today is partly a tribute to the memories of these great men and women who literally ‘saw tomorrow’ when they sat down to conceive the idea of the formation of this great Chamber,’’ he said.

In his remarks, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, Chairman, Juli Pharmacy Plc., noted that Nigeria could become a noble nation in the nearest future through capacity building, leadership reorientation and attitudinal changes.

Adelusi-Adeluyi stressed that now more than ever, is the time for identifying and nurturing the right crop of leaders to steer the nation to full potential.

“The challenges of Nigeria which borders on infrastructure decay, insecurity, corruption and the COVID-19 pandemic are there, but not as bad as it is being projected.

“Yes, there are complaints everywhere, the blame game everywhere, political puppets and puppeteers, toxic environment, and yes, the nation is at a tipping edge.

“But the right-thinking people must not join the convoy of criticisms, as businesses will not improve based on that.

“It is the duty of the private sector to change the current realities beguiling the nation and the NACC must take advantage of its position and be part of the solution to the nation’s problems by selling hope to the people,’’ he said.

Adelusi-Adeluyi, also a past president of the Chamber, urged it to establish a strong Board system, consolidate it and build a secretariat to achieve the aims of the Chamber and impact the nation.

“There must be team work for synergistic results, capacity building, and more efforts by the NACC to ensure that SMEs know and benefit from AGOA.

“The NACC must also strengthen its networking abilities to enhance its net worth so as to become a strong movement with stronger, long lasting impacts,’’ he said. (NAN)

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