Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Shri Vellamvelly Muraleedharan with Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama
From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Shri Vellamvelly Muraleedharan has disclosed that Indian investments in Nigeria amount to $20 billion.
Muraleedharan who spoke during the inaugural Session of the Nigeria-India Business Council (NIBC) in Abuja, also said Nigeria has always been a favourite investment destination for Indian businesses.
Muraleedharan further said the multi-sectoral, high-level business delegation from India is ready to collaborate in different sectors in the country.
“I am aware that there are around 135 Indian companies in Nigeria which are estimated to have invested over US$ 20 billion. It is also a matter of pride that companies owned by Indians or persons of Indian origin are reputed to be the second largest providers of employment in Nigeria. The large and growing population of Nigeria, its talented youth, the abundance of natural resources, a democratic and business-friendly Government and very strong cultural bonds between our peoples have all fuelled the rising economic engagement between both countries. But there is still great potential to enhance our economic cooperation and, with the pandemic behind us, both countries must look to vigorously make up for opportunities lost during the last two years,” Muraleedharan said.
Speaking on trade between India and Nigeria, the Indian Foreign Minister said Nigeria has been India’s largest trading partner in Africa and a very valuable energy partner.
He disclosed that bilateral trade between both countries from the year 2021 to 2022 had risen substantially over the previous year to $14.95 billion.
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According to Muraleedharan, “Collaboration in trade and economic fields between two countries is made a lot easier when the political relationship is strong and the leadership of the countries are committed to further improving the ties. I am glad that this is the case between India and Nigeria. India-Nigeria relations started even before Nigerian Independence in 1960, with the establishment of our Mission in Lagos in 1958. Our shared colonial past, diverse populations and common economic agenda based on democracy and sustainable development have united us even on the global stage. We have common positions on most issues affecting the developing world, climate change and terrorism, especially cross-border terrorism. We are supportive of Nigeria’s aspirations in the international arena and we are optimistic that our countries can enhance our coordination at multilateral fora, especially with India scheduled to host the prestigious G 20 Summit in 2023.”
He also said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, cooperation between India and Nigeria only intensified with regular telephonic interactions between leaders of both countries, the supply by India of over seven tonnes of essential medicines during the peak of the pandemic and the gifting of 100,000 ‘made in India’ vaccines to Nigeria under India’s ‘vaccine maitri’ initiative.
“We are now exploring the possibility of joint manufacturing facilities for COVID-19 and other vaccines with select African countries, and we understand that Nigeria is also interested in such partnerships with India.
“India has always been a very reliable partner for its friends in Africa and is committed to the socio-economic development of Africa in accordance with its own development priorities. Your priorities are our guiding principles for economic cooperation and our assistance in this area has always been kept in the best interest of your country.
“Development Partnership has been one of the most important pillars of our relationship. It is heartening to note that the development cooperation projects are bringing positive changes to the lives of the people of Africa. In Nigeria, the Government of India through EXIM Bank of India is financing a solar power plant and street lighting project in Kaduna State and a Gas based power plant in Cross Rivers State at a combined cost of nearly US$ 60 million.
“We greatly appreciate the Nigerian Government’s efforts at self-reliance, to encourage local manufacturing, promote sustainable agriculture for economic development, diversify its energy mix from crude oil to gas and other forms of renewable energy and obtain investment into its infrastructure projects.
“Today, the multi-sectoral, high-level business delegation from India present here is ready to collaborate in different sectors. While there is a tendency to follow the known path and traditional methods of doing business, I would urge the companies to look at the strengths of India in various futuristic fields like Fintech, Al, health including vaccine manufacturing, digital and green growth and adapt them to the needs and requirements of Nigeria. India’s experience in innovative technology-based solutions to different problems, a spurt of growth in Unicorns and Startups, and adaptation of new technologies including drones are some of the areas that could lead to an increase in interaction between our two economies. The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) which is headquartered in Hyderabad, India and which has won the 2021 Africa Food Prize, already collaborating with Nigeria and has a centre in Kano State where scientific research and experience sharing takes place in various products including millets. Nigeria has significant land to offer for the production of various products, and Indian companies should explore the opportunity to invest in crop production, while creating large-scale employment, generating income, and even allowing the economy to move up the value chain through the creation of agro-processing facilities,” the Indian Foreign Minister stated.
Sun News Online team
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© 2019 The Sun Nigeria – Managed by Netsera.