From Fred Itua, Abuja
Trade volume between Nigeria and India has risen to $16 billion, according to the Indian High Commissioner-designate to Nigeria, B. N. Reddy.
The Indian envoy who spoke in Abuja during the launch of the India-Nigeria Business Promotion Council said as biggest trading partners in Africa, both countries must share experiences and assist each other in areas of interests.
Reddy said, “India supports the core objectives of the new administration in Nigeria. These are security, employment and empowerment. We will work with the government of Nigeria to achieve these goals and objectives.
“Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa and India is Nigeria’s biggest trading partner in the world. We are gaining some experiences in our country and India will be glad to share these experiences with Nigeria.
“India is committed to the growth and development of Africa. We are the fourth biggest trading partner to Africa. We still have a lot of grounds to cover and Nigeria has a role to play.” Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, in his remarks said the country was willing to learn from the experience of India.
He, however, pleaded with Indian investors present at the event to open world-class hospitals and medical centres in Nigeria to halt the medical tourism of Nigerians to India.
“There is a lot to learn from India. India is our biggest trading partner. I am hoping that the launch of this partnership will be the beginning of many good things to come. Nigerians have been going to India for medical tourism.
“We call on Indians to extend the same technology to Nigeria and set up some of the medical centres here. We are working to improve on the business relationship between the two countries. We will create the right environment needed by the private sector to thrive and do business. Our government will work with you for the greater good of both countries.”
Former Education Minister, Oby Ezekwesili, who also spoke, bemoaned the trade imbalance between Africa and India. She called for a review, while urging the Federal Government to create the enabling environment so that investors can freely come into the country.
“India’s trade with Africa is about $300 billion, out of which West Africa accounts for about $32 billion,” she added.