The Acting Indian High Commissioner, Kaiser Alam, has said that the trade volume between Nigeria and India dropped from $16 billion in 2015 to $12 billion in 2016. Speaking at a reception in Abuja to mark the 68th Republic Day of India, the envoy said the fall was because of declining oil price in the international market.
He said, “We were importing the same amount but the oil prices came down. Above all, our trade was the same and the trade surplus was in favour of Nigeria.”
Alam said that 2016 marked a significant year in bilateral relations, adding that both countries sought to expand relations in all areas. According to him, the Indian Vice President, Hamid Ansari, was in Nigeria in September last year and cooperation in agriculture was discussed in great detail.
As such, he said Nigeria’s agriculture ministry officials will visit India in March and it is hoped the visit will discuss further cooperation and implement ideas.
On bilateral relations, he said there is always room for improvement while scholarship slots for short-term courses under the India Technical and Economic Cooperation, (ITEC), had been increased from 200 to 300.
Alam added that the increase will open more opportunities for Nigerian government officials to participate in such platforms to improve their skills in various areas.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in a message urged both countries to strengthen economic relations to reduce trade imbalance.
The minister, who was represented by the ministry’s Director of Regions, Mohammed Suleiman, said this could be done by creating more access for Nigerian products in Indian markets.