Worried about the low volume of trade between Nigeria and Israel, the Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Israeli government have entered into a partnership agreement to seek ways to deepen and strengthen the bilateral trade relationship between both economies.
The acting Managing Director, BOI, Waheed Olagunju during a courtesy visit by Israel’s ambassador to BOI, said the partnership is apt, coming at a time when Nigeria is trying to improve and increase its agro processing capacity, urging domestic and foreign investors to take advantage of the opportunity to invest in the nation’s vast agricultural sector.
According to the acting Managing Director, the partnership would also cover areas of possible collaboration in the recently launched Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the federal government, maintaining that there is a lot of money to be made by Isreali investors in Nigeria.
“We believe if the Israeli business model is right, they can reap much more in the Nigerian economy because our vast natural and resource endowments,” he said.
“There is no country as blessed as Nigeria in the world. The Bank of Industry (BOI) will be on ground to work with Israeli investors who wants to do business in Nigeria. Whoever wants to do business in Nigeria can always work with BOI and we will give them all our hands. We are on ground in Nigeria to hold the hands of both domestic and foreign investors who wants to do business in the country.”
He said the Development Finance Institution (DFI) is looking forward to a very good time with its foreign and domestic development partners with Israeli investors being one of the most outstanding.
”You are coming at the right time when the country is trying to improve and increase its agro processing capacity because we have had bumper harvest last year and we are still going to have more in the coming years and if steps are not taken urgently to improve the agro processing industry, there could be post-harvest losses and this will serve as a disincentive to farmers.
“So we are stepping up our agro processing capacity in the country to ensure that we preserve and add value to our agricultural produce while also preparing them for the export market as well,” he said.
In his response, the Israel Ambassador to Nigeria, Guy Feldman, said the Israeli government believes that there is much more both economies can do in terms of trade, stating that the partnership would identify areas on how to improve and strengthen bilateral trade agreements between Nigeria and Israel.
”Israel has ideas and innovations where Nigeria can tap from to drive any sector of the economy. The trade between the two countries is something which we have more with the smallest countries in Europe and other places and this shows that something is definitely wrong somewhere, because we believe Nigeria is a huge economy and we believe we can a whole lot more,” he said.