COVID-19 has given an Opportunity for Closer Business Interaction between India and Nigeria: H.E Mr. Abhay Thakur, High Commissioner, High Commission of India, Abuja, Nigeria

No.PR-101 May 26, 2020 New Delhi COVID-19 has given an Opportunity for Closer Business Interaction between India and Nigeria: H.E Mr. Abhay Thakur, High Commissioner, High Commission of India, Abuja, Nigeria PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted an interactive session on “India – Nigeria Business Promotion, Challenges, and Opportunities - Post Covid19” with H.E Mr. Abhay Thakur, High Commissioner, High Commission of India, Abuja, Nigeria. H.E Mr. Abhay Thakur, in his welcome address apprised about the measures and steps taken by Nigeria to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and humanity. While talking about the previous pandemic like Ebola, His Excellency mentioned that through stick local measures kept the country isolation from the spread of COVID-19 especially in cities like Abuja, Kano, and Lagos. Nigeria’s GDP of around USD 450 billion was largest in Africa, a large part of the GDP was also contributed by the presence of a significantly large informal sector and also by employing its growing population of more than 200 million. Nigeria was also home to a large and growing Agriculture and allied sector; it was actively importing USD 4 billion worth of milk powder and milk products from around the world. Many local businessmen including from India and of Indian origin were engaged in the sector, said H.E Mr. Abhay Thakur. He also highlighted that Nigeria’s anticipated growth rate of 2.4% forecasted for the year 2021, will be based on Nigeria’s partnership with important trading and investment partners like India. There can be challenges as Nigeria may adopt more of domestic manufacturing going forward, but this will also pose as an opportunity for the existing and future Indian investments. The preference of Nigerian companies towards Indian Machinery and equipment will bring in a lot of opportunities for the Indians companies engaged in the sector particularly the MSMEs in India. Nigeria’s preference towards Indian products and services can be largely attributed to reasonable pricing of the goods and services coupled with a positive image and good quality. His Excellency also deliberated that distance education will be become a focused sector due to the spread of the pandemic, there will be a decline in the movements of students from Nigeria to India. Indian companies can also focus on the robust telecom sector in Nigeria because of their recently implemented New National Broadband Programme worth billions of USD. Issues of banking sector like the non-recognition of Indian bank’s Letter of Credit by most of the Nigerian banks can be addressed by a strong partnership in the financial sector by both the countries. Prince Kayode Adetokunbo, President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce & Industry shared that the goodwill and trade-based relations of India and Nigeria. India has been the largest trading partner of Nigeria with over 135 Indian Companies registered in Nigeria in the formal sector and there is an investment of approx. $10 billion by Indian companies in Nigeria. Indian companies have played a very important role, as they are respected locally. In reciprocation the Government of Nigeria has taken great & utmost care in ensuring an equitable business climate for these companies. Mr. Sanjay Aggarwal, Senior Vice President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in his welcome address mentioned the various activities taken place in the Chamber and its engagements with the African continent. He talked about the deep-rooted friendship between India and Nigeria that is not only historic but also natural. He stressed that the total bilateral trade between India and Nigeria stood at making India its largest trading partner. 135 Indian companies operating in Nigeria were the second-largest source of employment in Nigeria. While talking about India’s role in the Lines of credit, Mr. Sanjay Aggarwal said that it has lead to the socio-economic development of Nigeria. Since petroleum and petroleum products were a major component in the bilateral trade between both the nations, he sought the views of the Indian Mission in Nigeria the future of the trade keeping in view the declining prices and demand of crude oil across the world. Mr. Pradeep Multani, Vice President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry talked about the importance of the AYUSH Sector which can be an opportunity for trade expansion between India and Nigeria in the future. Mr. Saurabh Sanyal, Secretary-General, PHD Chamber while delivering the formal Vote of Thanks to all the esteemed delegates and participants. The session was supported by Tashikka Exposition and moderated by Mr. Naveen Seth, Principal Director, PHD Chamber. The Session was also attended by Mr. Vivek Agarwala, Chair, International Affairs Committee for Africa; Mr. Nasir Zaidi, Chair, International Affairs Committee for Gulf, PHD Chamber; Mr. Vikram Gera, Co‐Chair, International Affairs Committee for Europe & CIS, PHD Chamber; Mr. G L Aggarwal, Co‐Chair, International Affairs Committee for Gulf, PHD Chamber; Mr. Dhruv Aggarwal, Co-Chair, PHD Chamber; Mr. Surinder Kalra, Co-Chair, International Affairs Committee for Gulf, PHD Chamber; Mr. Sushil Gupta, Chair & Managing Director, Atlas Group; Ms. Mira Mathews, Director, Tashikka Expositions along with diplomats from the Indian High Commission in Nigeria along with senior Industry Stalwarts attended the session which witnessed a participation of more than 180 Indian and Nigerian Industry representatives. Ends. Media Division PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry