Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government has called for increased trade volume between Nigeria and Ukraine which currently stands at $93.3 million as at November 2017, which decreased by four percent compared to the 2016 figures.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, made the call, on Thursday, during the Nigeria- Ukraine Trade and Investment round table meeting, in Abuja.
He has, however, expressed hope that with the visit of the Ukrainian delegation, the trade volume between the two countries will increase.
“The visit came at a time Nigeria is pursuing economic growth that will aid its vision of being among top 20 economies in the world.
“As at November last year, trade volume between Nigeria and Ukraine was $93.3million which is a decrease by four percent in 2016. With your visit we hope the volume of trade would increase in 2018,” he said.
Mustapha is also seeking partnership with Ukraine on how to develop Nigeria’s waterways, according to him, Nigeria must develop its inland waterways to reduce traffic on the roads.
He added, “Nigeria has 10,000 kilometers waterways and 4,000 are navigable and I believe if fully developed can take away pressure from our roads as bulk of our cargo can go on our waterways.”
On her part, the Trade Representative of Ukraine, Deputy Minister for Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine, Natalia Mykolska said Nigeria is a long standing friend of Ukraine noting that Nigerian students in Ukraine are the best ambassadors for both countries.
According to her “Nigeria is a strategic partner, we believe trade is not a one way street, we need to think of import, export and joint cooperation.
“More than 10 Ukraine companies that represent different sectors of the economy are on this delegation – agriculture and food sector, grains and food cooperation, machine building factory, breaks and blots use in automotive sector, pharmaceutical sector, poultry, among other sectors.”
On his part, Nigeria Office of Trade Negotiations, Chief Trade Negotiator Director General, Ambassador Chinedu Osakwe, said the global financial crisis of 2008 affected Nigeria as well as the 2014 oil price crisis, this he said is the reason the current administration under Muhammadu Buhari is interested in the diversification of the economy.
He also alluded to the fact that Nigeria and Ukraine have huge trade imbalances, putting the import from Ukraine to Nigeria at N91 billion while export from Nigeria is N90 million.
He listed the priority areas that are of interest to the country to include – maritime services that is the development of the waterways. “It is an area that we will need to identify to work together. Other areas are Agriculture, robotics, genetics, energy, mining and manufacturing. The watch word is value chain which we are interested in developing,” he stated.