In spite of the decrease in the volume of trade between Nigeria and India, the Asian country still remains Nigeria’s highest trade partner, Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, has said.
Onyeama made the statement 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.
Newsmen have it that the visiting military officers were on a three-day world study tour to Nigeria as part of the curriculum for their Masters Degree in Philosophy (MPhil) programme.
The volume of trade between India and Nigeria dropped from 16 billion dollars in 2015 to 12 billion dollars in 2016 due to the fall in oil price, according to more reports.
The Minister, who expressed Nigeria’s determination to strengthen trade relations between Nigeria and India, recalled that the two countries had long term trade relations.
“India is our largest trading partner at the moment; India 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 Nigeria’s economy and attract Foreign Direct Investment.
Onyeama informed the delegation that when the incumbent administration came on board, it focused on three 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 adopted policy of economic diplomacy.
“This is where economic diplomacy came up; we realise that we cannot rely on one commodity, we need to diversify and we have to reach out to other countries that we are ready for business
“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 officers were in Nigeria on a world tour as part of the requirements for their military academic qualification.
He said that the visiting officers would leverage on the existing relationship between India and Nigeria to acquire the needed knowledge for their courses.
The leader of the group, 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 said they had learnt a lot since they came to Nigeria.