‘Why FG must rejig Nigeria-India economic relations’

ACCI says 1973 trade agreement obsolete

The President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Kayode Adetokunbo, yesterday, stressed the needs for the Federal Government to tweak bilateral relations between Nigeria and India.

Asking the government to refocus the economic relationship, Adetokunbo, who spoke at the webinar, tagged:
“India-Nigeria Business Promotion, Challenges and Opportunities – Post-Covid19,” insisted that such a development would create a win-win situation.

The High Commission of India in Nigeria had stated that India is Nigeria’s largest trading partner, just as Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa, as the country is reportedly the largest buyer of Nigerian crude oil.

While the Embassy added that 135 companies are owned and/or operated by Indians or persons-of-Indian origin in Nigeria, trade volume between India and Nigeria currently hover around to $13.9billion as of 2019.

Adetokunbo said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted negatively on the relationship between the two countries especially in one of the key areas where Nigerians travel to India, which is medical tourism.
“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 more areas that it can do business with India.

“Nigeria is ready to use Indian technology. India should also help Nigeria to diversify its economy into agriculture, mining, manufacturing amongst others.”

He also alleged that several Indian companies are rather using Indian firms in Nigeria to carry out activities in a manner that tend to undermine local legislation particularly in the area of trading in retail and distribution services.

While speaking on the challenges in the trade relations, he pointed out that the absence of Indian manufacturing hubs in Africa in general, and Nigeria in particular, as well as intrusion into local businesses bothering on retailer-ship and distribution services, need to be addressed to strengthen the ties.

Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Abbay Thakur, who highlighted some of the activities of Indian companies in Nigeria across many sectors, especially agriculture, power, technology, automobile, health and pharmaceuticals, among others, stressed that Nigeria has been one of India’s biggest trading partner for several years.

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