FG Seeks to Expand $11.8bn Bilateral Trade with India


The federal government has said it seeks to expand its over $11.8 billion bilateral trade with the Republic of India in a bid to boost growth in key sectors of the Nigerian economy.

The government made the disclosure at the Nigeria-India Business Council (NIBC) in Abuja.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, stated, “I would like to commend the efforts of both countries in concluding the sixth session of the Nigeria-India Joint Commission Meeting held Monday.

“India is among Nigeria’s top 10 trading partners, and Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa.”

Uzoka-Anite said, “The total bilateral trade between India and Nigeria as of 2022 stood at $14.95 billion, as against $8.81 billion during the year 2020 – 2021.

“This unfortunately dipped to $11.8 billion last year, but remains a clear indication of the importance of trade relations between our two nations.”

Uzoka-Anite further explained that during her tour of India, she met with several pharmaceutical companies, many of whom were interested in coming into the Nigerian market or expanding already existing operations.

She said, “Since our visit, one of these companies is in the process of setting up a new $10 million plant in Ota, Ogun State. They currently sell approximately 100 pharmaceutical products in Nigeria and approximately 50 per cent are imported.

“This plant is the first step in making sure their products are 100 per cent locally produced. This is the kind of development that we want to see more of and we urge other Indian manufacturers to also support our backward integration drive in this way.

“Both nations have long been bound by warm, friendly and deeply rooted bilateral relations. Today’s forum is a testament to the progress we’ve made, building upon the foundations laid by President Bola Tinubu, during the Presidential Roundtable held in New Delhi, India, on the side-lines of the G20 summit.

“That pivotal meeting saw Indian investors pledge an impressive total of almost $14 billion worth of investment into Nigeria’s economy.”

The minister said Director-general of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, promised to send a high-level delegation to Nigeria.

“I am pleased to see that he has kept to his word and even exceeded our expectations by bringing together such a strong group of business leaders,” Uzoka-Anite said.

She welcomed the Indian delegation, saying, “Nigeria is home to approximately 150 Indian companies, many of which are such strong household names that we have embraced them as our own.

“Companies, such as Bharti Airtel, Tata, Stallion Motors, Churchgate, and Indorama. I have even noticed that Nigerian-based Indian companies are some of the biggest ambassadors for doing business in our market, this is a testament to the conducive business environment that Nigeria provides for Indian companies to thrive.”

Similarly, Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, in his welcome address, said, “I am optimistic that this forum will further strengthen the bilateral ties between the two countries thereby increasing foreign direct investment, facilitate capacity, technology transfer and foster sustainable business partnerships between the government and private sector of both countries.

“You may wish to note that Nigeria is a coastal state with an extensive coastline stretching over 853 kilometres along the Atlantic Ocean, which serves as a natural hub for shipping in the continent of Africa.”

According to the minister, “The country has the shortest distance from the coast to most of the landlocked neighbouring nations in West and Central African regions and a network of potentially navigable waterways covering 10,000 kilometres across 28 of her 36 states.”

India’s Minister of External Affairs, Dr. S. Jaishankar, said, “This is the first time that a foreign affairs minister from India will be visiting Nigeria.”

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