By Dipo Olowookere
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has expressed confidence that though Nigeria Economy is presently facing structural challenges, the Buhari government is confident that Nigeria will return to positive growth very soon.
He made this assurance on Tuesday September 27, 2015, at the Joint Nigeria-India Business Forum which was held sequel to the signing of Bi-lateral Agreement between the two countries, at Sheraton Hotel Abuja.
He stressed that this will be possible because the Nigerian Government has responded by adopting policies that will boost economic activities and lay a long term growth.
According to him, “Our vision is anchored on a paradigm shift in government toward transparency and accountability and making it easier to do business as we diversify the economy”.
Throwing more light he stated that, there will be replicating of the skill, scale and speed of infrastructure development, focusing especially on power, road and rail.
Noting that this business gathering is at a time that Nigeria is pursuing reforms in the oil and gas sector while undertaking major social investment to tackle poverty, inequality and promoting social inclusion; it is expected that these policies will in turn support the private sector and greater domestic and foreign investment.
He stated that, the visit of the Vice President of India and his delegation further cements the historical ties and underscores the importance of promoting business cooperation between the two countries, hoping that the two sides will use the opportunity to work out any outstanding business issues relating to bilateral and investments including access to credit lines.
In addition, he observed the need to speedily address people to people relations including cultural ties while making it easier to import and export goods and services to be exchanged between the two countries.
While commending the Indian delegation, he stated that, “Our trading engagement are of vintage quality” because, as of the 19th Century Indian traders were visiting Nigeria bringing textiles and spices and the Indian High Commission was established in Nigeria in 1958.
He further revealed that, Nigeria-India relation was given impetus for the signing of the Abuja declaration on Strategic Partnerships in October 2007 which covered a gamut of relations between the two countries, the partnership was further cemented by the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to New Delhi in October 2015 for the third India- Africa Forum Summit.
Prof Osinbajo observed that, “These high level engagements have contributed to the strengthening our Bi-lateral Relations and providing a good basis for mutually beneficial business ties”.
He also noted that, with the change in Global Economic Landscape, India has become one of the global growth poles and is therefore gratifying that the volume of trade between the two countries have increased to about $17bn as at 2015.
The Vice President further said that the rise of India as a significant source of investment into Nigeria makes a compelling case for expanding such growth into other areas; in his words, “We should in this regard scale up the involvement of the private sectors of our two countries in enhancing growth and sustainable developments”, the appointment of Alhaji Aliko Dangote as the Co-President of the India-Africa Business Council is therefore satisfying indeed because the development will give a major boost to development, he surmised.
Concluding, the Vice President invited members of the delegation to take full advantage of the occasion, to initiate lasting business partnerships with Nigerian partners especially in the areas of information and technology, agriculture and agro-allied business, health matters including investment in health services sector, energy especially oil and gas; including renewable energies such as solar power, education including capacity building and entrepreneurship, science and technology, and services generally.
Earlier in his address, the Vice President of India, Mr Hamid Ansari expressed satisfaction with the initiatives that Nigeria has launched under the sagacious leadership of President Buhari, assuring the cooperation and partnership of India. He further expressed a strong desire of his country to expand its commercial engagement with Nigeria.
He observed that, Nigeria is an important partner for India’s energy security requirement, saying about 12% of her crude requirement comes from Nigeria; over 100 companies have made Nigeria their base to operate in West Africa employing quite a large number of Nigerians, covering diverse sectors of the economy.
The Joint Business Forum was jointly hosted by Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industries, NACCIMA, Government of India, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and ASSOCHAM, India.