Kolkata, 7 March : As India’s largest trading partner in Africa, the Federal Republic of Nigeria is all set to further increase the volume of bilateral by manifold during the next few years from the present figure of 13.89 billion USD with the total amount of import of crude oil alone running into 9.43 billion USD.
Informing this High Commissioner of Nigeria in India Major General Chris Sunday Eze (Rtd.) told the members of the city’s premier Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry(MCCI) here this afternoon that since Nigeria had emerged as the fifth largest supplier of crude oil and second largest supplier of LNG in 2018, India had become the largest importer of crude oil from his country.
Referring to the all round growth of his country which is Africa’s most populous nation with a population of 190 million and contributing to a significant percentage of African consumer spending, the Nigerian High Commissioner said the economy of Nigeria currently stood at a mammoth figure of 446 billion USD.
‘Nigeria is a front runner in ECOWAS and it is a single market with political stability’, he said adding ‘We produce around 2.5 million barrels of crude oil per day and following the discovery of off shore oil, Nigeria is making huge investments in rail, roads and other infrastructural facilities, besides trying to achieve self sufficiency in food ‘.
Major General Chris Sunday Eze (Rtd.) said Nigeria had sharply moved up in Ease of Doing Business in 2018 and 2019.
‘The leadership of Nigeria is trying to improve governance and diversify the economy from its reliance on oil.The strategy of the Government is to use fossil fuels in the short and medium term and its advantage in mining and agriculture in the long term.The country is fighting corruption and its President is the face of anti corruption’, he said and sought further Indian investment in Nigeria which has already attracted a large number of India business enterprises worth several billion USD.
Moreover, he said the Nigerian Government had already created a very conducive environment for business and investment in the country. ‘Consequently, investors may look at Nigeria as one of the best investment destinations in Africa’.
Later replying to queries about the possible impact of Coronavirus in Nigeria,specially in tourism sector and in the development of infrastructure which was primarily looked into by the Chinese entrepreneurs, the High Commissioner without getting into the details of the problems, felt that since Indian and Chinese investors worked in different fields in Nigeria and operated in different areas, there was no tangible effect so far on the economy and business deals following the emergence of this deadly virus. Moreover,it had now become a global problem,he pointed out.
Earlier, welcoming the guest at the Chamber, Ramesh Agarwal, former MCCI President said India and Nigeria always enjoyed warm, friendly and deep-rooted bilateral relations. The presence of a large Indian expatriate community of about 50,000, the largest in West Africa, adds value to the importance of the long-standing relationship between the two countries.