No other country has been able to displace India as Nigeria’s biggest trade partner for years, despite the fact that there was a decrease in the volume of trade between the two countries in recent past, according to the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama.
The minister made the remark on Wednesday in Abuja when a delegation from the Defence College, India, led by Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Amb. Nagabushana Reddy, paid him a courtesy visit.
Reports from the ministry indicate that the volume of trade between India and Nigeria dropped from $16 billion in 2015 to $12 billion in 2016, primarily because of the sharp drop in the price of oil.
The Minister, stated that this was mainly due to Nigeria’s determination to strengthen trade relation with India, adding that the two countries had maintained a long-term trade relationship.
“India is our largest trading partner at the moment; it is a very important partner in all aspects and we continue to look forward to sustain that,” he said.
The Minister told the delegation that the Federal Government had put in place measures to boost Nigeria’s economy.
He said that the Federal Government is working hard to strengthen and attract more Foreign Direct Investments.
Onyeama informed the delegation that when the incumbent administration came on board, it focused on some critical areas, which include security, good governance and anti-corruption as well as job creation.
He said that in its efforts to fast track the process of diversification of the economy, the government had adopted some policy of economic diplomacy.
“Nigeria had realised that it cannot rely on one commodity to achieve robust economy, hence the need to diversify and we have to reach out to other countries that are ready to do business with us.
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“We also tried to make the environment more conducive for investment; there have been a lot of policies in reaching out to other countries that we are serious for business.
“We have put a lot of policies in place to show to investors and the world at large that Nigeria is ready for business,” Onyeama said.
In his remarks, the High Commissioner said the visiting team was made up of officers in Nigeria on a world tour as part of the requirements for their military academic qualification.
He stated that the visiting officers would leverage on the existing relationship between India and Nigeria to acquire the needed knowledge for their training.
Earlier, the leader of the team, Maj.-Gen Mvinaya Chandra, Senior Directing Officer 111, Defence College, India, commended the minister for the lecture he gave them on Nigeria’s foreign policy.
He confirmed that the visiting military officers were on a three-day world-study tour to Indian friendly countries, of which Nigeria forms part of the main curriculum for their Masters Degree in Philosophy (MPhil) programme.
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