Nigeria Concludes Two-year Strategy to Raise Trade with Asia to $80bn
IMAGE: Mr. Olusegun Aganga, The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment »
The federal government yesterday concluded an elaborate plan targeted at boosting trade between Nigeria and countries in Asia by 100 per cent in the next 24 months.
The fresh Nigeria-Asia TRADE STRATEGY was fine tuned last weekend by the officials of the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment and its parastatals, along with Nigeria’s ambassadors across the Asian countries, in a two-day meeting in New Delhi, India.
The strategic meeting was the first of its kind in over 50 years aimed at brainstorming on a synergy targeted at further improving the trade and investment ties with the 15 Asian countries.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, told journalists at the end of the two-day meeting that the ministry and the ambassadors resolved to work on doubling the volume of trade between Nigeria and Asia to over $80 billion (N13.2trillion) within two years.
Currently, trade volume between Nigeria and 15 Asian countries stands in excess of $40 billion (N6.62 trillion). India is currently Nigeria’s largest trading partner with a trade volume of about N2.95 trillion, followed by China (N2.143 trillion).
Trade volume between Nigeria and Australia stands at N534.3 billion; Singapore (N293.4 billion); Indonesia (272.8 billon); Japan (N263.5 billion) and Bangladesh (N84.5 billon), among others.
14 ambassadors, including the Ambassadors of Nigeria to 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, 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 Asia as Nigeria’s major trading and investment partner, adding that there was an urgent need to maintain Nigeria’s current position as the preferred investment destination in Africa and globally.
The meeting also opened up fresh investment commitments by major Indian companies, who were not yet present in Nigeria.
The minister said: “Why is this important meeting happening in India, some may ask? Why not in one of the western nations with whom Nigeria traditionally had strong trading ties? 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.
“This is evidenced in 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 added that: “Whilst the western countries have 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 the ministry provide key information on the progress and policy thrust in key sectors of the Nigerian economy to guide you in this critical assignment.”
The minister stressed that there was 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 Goodluck Jonathan.
“He said: “This administration has, within the last three years, been implementing far-reaching transformational policies such as the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan National Automotive Industry Development Plan, National Sugar Master Plan, the National Enterprise Development Programme among others.
“These policies are aimed at diversifying our economic base and achieving sustained and inclusive economic growth. The role of Nigeria’s ambassadors in Asia is important in promoting and attracting Foreign Direct Investment to 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.”
In his speech, the Nigerian High Commissioner to India, Mr. Ndubuisi Amaku, said the country stood to benefit a lot by increasing the current level of economic partnership with Asian countries.
“It is only those who live in the past that still believe that the West can help us. The Asian continent has great regards for Nigeria as a country. We welcome this move and will do everything to support the transformation agenda of the President,” he said.
Article Credit: Thisdaylive