WorldStage Newsonline—As part of moves to double the volume of trade between Nigeria and Asia to over $80 billion in the next two years, the Federal Government and 14 of its Ambassadors across the Asian held a strategic meeting in New Delhi, India, over the weekend to brainstorm on how to further improve trade and investment ties with the 15 countries in the Sub-Continent.
According to a statement, The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, said the Ministry and the envoys resolved to work on doubling the volume of trade between Nigeria and Asia to over $80 billion within two years.
Currently, the trade volume between Nigeria and 15 Asian countries stands in excess of $40 billion while India is currently Nigeria’s largest trading partner with a trade volume of about N2.95 trillion followed by China at N2.143 trillion.
Trade volume between Nigeria and Australia stands at N534.3 billion, Singapore N293.4 billion; Indonesia N272.8 billion; Japan N263.5 billion and Bangladesh, N84.5 billion, among others.
The statement said, Nigeria's Ambassadors from India, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, North Korea, Vietnam, China, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Guangzou and Pakistan, attended the meeting.
Key agencies of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, such as the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, National Automotive Council, and the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority, were also at the roundtable.
Aganga said the meeting was necessitated by the emergence of Asian countries as Nigeria’s major trading and investment partners, adding that there is an urgent need to maintain Nigeria’s current position as the preferred investment destination in Africa in particular, as well as globally.
The meeting also opened up fresh investment commitments by major Indian companies, that are yet operating in Nigeria.
Aganga gave reasons why India is especially keen on investing in Nigeria: “The reason is that over the last decade, there has been a shift in the dynamics of how Nigeria does business globally. We have seen our nation move from a nation historically joined at the hips with the western world to one which is more and more eastward facing.
“This is evidenced by the fact that Nigeria’s biggest trading partner is now India, with China following closely behind. Nigeria also sells a large portion of its crude to India, while our traditional major buyer- the United States- has moved to 10th place. This scenario mirrors the shift in trading patterns.”
He said while the Western world has been beset by economic instability, the fastest growing economies have been those in the African and Asian regions. We want to arm you with relevant information to help in your roles as Chief Marketing Officers for Nigeria in your various stations.
“That is why we have ensured that many of the parastatals and directorates under the supervision of MITI provide key information on the progress and policy thrust in key sectors of the Nigerian economy to guide you in this critical assignment," he said, stressing that there is the need for Nigerian missions abroad to key-into and play active roles in promoting Nigeria’s investment opportunities and strengthening trade ties with their countries of assignment, in line with the Transformation Agenda of the President.
He said within the last three years, the government has implemented far-reaching transformational policies, such as the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan; National Automotive Industry Development Plan; National Sugar Master Plan and the National Enterprise Development Programme, among others.
“These policies are aimed at diversifying our economic base and achieving sustained, inclusive economic growth. The role of Nigeria’s Ambassadors in Asia is important in promoting and attracting Foreign Direct Investment into Nigeria. We have Nigeria’s best across all our missions and I am delighted that we are today laying the foundation for stronger collaboration in the collective struggle for an even stronger economy," he said.
Nigerian's High Commissioner to India, Ndubuisi Amaku, said the country stands to benefit a lot by increasing the current level of economic partnership with Asian countries, adding that the Asian continent has great regards for Nigeria as a country and would play its role in the Transformation agenda of the government.