Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
Nigeria and Indian governments are working on ways to enhance the $12 billion annual bilateral trade between both countries in a way that would focus on more investments.
Receiving the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Shri Abhav Thakur, in his office, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, lauded the relationship between Nigeria and India but said it has become necessary to expand it beyond trade for increased investment.
Recalling the fundamental co-operation between both countries and their common heritage in the Commonwealth of Nations, he said Nigeria is restructuring its economy and bilateral relationships should reflect same.
The Minister welcomed the envoy’s interest in Project Mine, a new initiative by Nigeria to develop world-class special economic zones to position Nigeria as the pre-eminent manufacturing hub in sub-Saharan Africa, and a major exporter of made in Nigeria goods and services regionally and globally.
Last month, the Federal Government signed investment agreements with three Development Finance Institutions – Afreximbank, Bank of Industry (BoI) and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) for the project.
Thakur, who expressed interest in the project, requested a formal briefing to enable him sell the opportunities to Indian investors.
The High Commissioner, who is new in the country, congratulated the Minister for the electoral victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and his government. He stated that Nigeria and India are important trade partners and expressed the need to grow the partnership.
He said his country looked forward to the Joint Trade Committee meeting holding in India in April. India and Nigeria, in 2017, agreed to establish the committee at the level of Commerce Secretary from Indian side and Permanent Secretary from Nigerian side to review ongoing bilateral trade and commercial relations.
The Minister assured him of Nigeria’s attendance of the meeting and promised the envoy that he will enjoy his stay.
“We are glad to have you in Nigeria. We are very hospitable people and we believe you will enjoy your stay,” Enelamah said.