UAE pushes for deeper ties with Nigeria, trade hits N1.7bn

UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Fahad Altaffag. PHOTO CREDIT: Fahad Altaffag
UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Fahad Altaffag. PHOTO CREDIT: Fahad Altaffag/Twitter

United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Fahad Altaffag on Monday expressed his country’s desire to deepen investment and trade ties between both countries.

Altaffag made this known at the Dubai-Nigeria Export in Lagos organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the UAE Embassy in Nigeria.

The envoy noted that both countries had certain similarities and opportunities that could be explored to boost trade and investment by leveraging technology, innovation and youthful energy across all sectors.

He said, “Over the past 15 years, our total bilateral non-oil trade growth witnessed a 17 percent increase reaching about $1.7 billion in 2017.

“More than 20 Nigerian trademarks are registered with the Ministry of Economy in Dubai.”

Altaffag said the investment of Nigerians in the UAE had risen to about $120 million across all sectors in 2016, due to the ease of doing business policy of the Federal Government.

He said there were huge opportunities for both economies to achieve more with deeper synergies.

Altaffag said, “To achieve that, it is imperative to establish the right legislative infrastructure by defining the investment protection and promotion agreement to reduce stress between investors from both countries.

“The economic outlook is not defined by the limits of the past but liberated by the positivity of the future.

“We have the mind, the capability and the will; this is the time to unleash our potential to reach beyond business as usual, to push the boundaries of partnership and fast forward to a bright and progressive future for both nations.”

President of LCCI, Babatunde Ruwase, observed that the level of trade between both countries was still low, saying closer cooperation between private sectors of both countries could change the narrative.

He said there were tremendous opportunities for cooperation and investment relations in Infrastructure development, especially power and engineering infrastructure.

Ruwase said increased trade between both countries would enhance Nigeria’s drive for economic diversification, adding that the country was looking forward to a trade relationship that would be mutually beneficial.