India commemorates 73rd Republic Day, commits to stronger bilateral ties with Nigeria

WorldStage Newsonline– India and Nigeria have reiterated their commitments to strengthening bilateral ties towards promoting investment and job opportunities in Nigeria and boosting the country’s economy.

Both countries made commitments on Wednesday at a ceremony organised to commemorate the 73rd Republic Day of India hosted by the Indian High Commission in Abuja.

Speaking at the event, Indian Acting High Commissioner to Nigeria Mr Velagaleti Surendra said that Nigeria remained India’s most strategic partner in the African continent.

Surendra said as such, his country was ready to support Nigeria’s efforts at growing its economy.

According to him, India is also working to diversify its investments in renewable energy and to explore new frontiers in which to diversify its investments in Nigeria.

He said the high commission had invited the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and the organised private sector to the event considering how strategic they were to diversifying Nigeria’s economy.

“One potential area we see is in renewable energy because there is a lot of interest in Nigeria in solar energy, setting up of solar plants, and even in the agricultural sector.

“We see that renewable energy is a major growth opportunity area for both countries and of course in areas of health – setting up of hospitals, in education, setting up institutes of education, learning centers.

“So the opportunities are endless and we hope to see much collaboration between both countries.

“Nigeria is the largest trading partner of India in the African region.

“Nigeria is one of the most important energy partners for us, and Indian investments are strong in Nigeria.

“We have more than 135 companies in various sectors – pharmaceuticals, power, automobiles, and lots more.

“We see that there are potentials for more collaboration between the two countries because Indian industries are here to be part of your growth story, to be investors, to remain in the country, and to help support the Nigerian economy,” Surendra said.

In a remark, the acting Executive Secretary of NIPC, Mr Emeka Offor said the commission was leveraging the strategic partnership between the two countries to diversify the Nigerian economy as well as create more jobs and wealth.

“India is of strategic importance to the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission and indeed Nigeria, as a result of the similarities we share together as countries in terms of socio-economic development.

“We went through a diligent process to identify 20 countries that we consider to be of strategic importance to Nigerian economic development and India is one of the 20 countries that we have identified.

“Based on that, NIPC will now begin to deepen relationships with those countries, especially India, for the purpose of developing an investment promotion arrangement with them so that we can attract investors from India to Nigeria.

“And if Nigeria also wants to invest in India, it should be free to do that.

“That is why we want to deepen that relationship but our focus is mainly on attracting investment from India to Nigeria to create jobs, to create wealth, and to develop the investment landscape in Nigeria,” Offor said.

Offor added that taking cognisance of Nigeria’s quest to diversify its economy and reduce total dependence on oil, “NIPC is consulting with India on developing the Information and  Communications Technology (ICT) sector.

“At the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, ICT became one of the sectors that did very well and we regard it as a winner because a lot of things can be done using information technology.

“So that is why we see a lot of attractions in areas such as ICT, e-commerce, and health-tech, among other things.

“We are leveraging the relationship we have with India to attract as many operators to Nigeria’s ICT space from India,” Offor said.

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