By Chris Ndibe
President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Mr Adetokunbo Kayode, , has called for a refocused and stronger economic ties between Nigeria and India.
Kayode made the call in Abuja at the webinar meeting tagged: “India – Nigeria Business Promotion, Challenges and Opportunities – Post-COVID-19”.
Kayode, an economic expert, noted that in a rejigged relationship, win-win situation should be the watchword.
He said that it had been informally estimated that there would be around 10 billion dollars of investment by Indian companies in Nigeria.
“Maybe very substantial part of that amount has been loaned to Indian companies by Nigerian government owned banks like, Bank of Industry, Nigeria Exim Bank, Development Bank of Nigeria, NIRSAL FUND of the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as commercial banks.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted negatively on the relationship between the two countries, especially on medical tourism, which is one of the key areas.
“Some of us attended schools that Indians were teachers. For us to move forward, we need to rejig the already existing obsolete 1973 Trade Agreement between Nigeria and India.
“In doing so, we have to bear in mind that Nigeria has several areas where it can do business with India,” he said.
According to him, if Nigeria is ready to use Indian technology then, India should also help Nigeria to diversify its economy into agriculture, mining, manufacturing, amongst others.
He recalled that in Great Gujarat gathering in 2019, it was discovered that several Indian companies were rather using Indian firms in Nigeria to carry out activities in a manner that undermined local legislations, particularly in trading in retail and distribution services.
On the challenges in the trade relations, Kayode pointed out that the absence of Indian manufacturing hubs in Africa and Nigeria, in particular, as well as intrusion into local businesses needed to be addressed to strengthen the ties.
In a remark, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Abbay Thakur, said Nigeria was one of Indian’s biggest trading partners for several years.
He highlighted on some of the activities of Indian companies in Nigeria in several sectors cutting across agriculture, power, technology, automobile, health and pharmaceuticals, among others.
Other participants at the event unanimously expressed the desire to actively participate in activities and programmes that would ensure the sustainability of the already existing cordial relationship.