Trade volume between Nigeria and Russia hit a record $600million in three years, the Nigerian Ambassador to Russia, Prof Abdullahi Shehu has said.
The trade volume rose from an appreciable $300 million to $600million in favour of the Russian government due to the massive exportation of machinery into Nigeria, even as he said plans are underway to encourage Nigerian manufacturers also export finished products taking cognisance of standards for product competitiveness.
The envoy who spoke at the Nigeria-Russia Business Forum in Lagos said efforts are also ongoing by the federal government to balance the trade between both countries.
While noting that both countries have forged bilateral trade ties aimed at fostering relations in the agriculture, oil and gas and security equipment sectors, respectively, he was however quick to add that the objective of the mission was to interact with Nigerian businesses and understand the market systems to mitigate risks and promote bilateral relationships in several sectors of the Nigerian economy.
He noted Nigeria’s position as the entry point for Russia and other businesses to Africa, said the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) would also guarantee high returns on investments.
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He said that a key area beneficial to the tie is steel development; an important component of industrialisation of any country with significant contribution to Gross Domestic Product, employment creation among others.
Shehu lauded the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to provide significant reforms aimed at creating better Nigerian business environment and improving its ease of doing business ranking.
“Within the framework of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+), Russia is a country we must engage with being one of the largest oil and gas business dealers in the world.
“I’m sure that this partnership is beneficial to all and we believe we can maximize our national resources to drive sustainable economic growth and development,” he said.
Deputy President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr Knut Ulvmoen said the Nigerian business environment had improved remarkably.
This, he said, was following government’s resolve through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to eliminate structural bottlenecks to the ease of doing business.
Ulvmoen said the country’s business landscape offered numerous opportunities for potential and existing investors to expand their investment commitment or new investors planning to bring fresh investments into the country.
“Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, with a nominal GDP of about $450 billion and its huge economic size has attracted several international investors across the globe.
“These reforms are expected to accelerate the pace of output recovery and improve the country’s medium-term economic outlook as the advantages of doing and localising business in the country is numerous,” he said.
The Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora (NIDO) Russia, Mr Samson Uwem said exposure to Russian business and vice versa would engender technology exchange, and technical training of personnel.
Umem urged government to further tackle issues hindering trade and investments in Nigeria to encourage more Russian companies partner and localise production in Nigeria.
“It also allows Russian businesses see and meet with the Nigerian businesses particularly in the small and medium enterprises space,” he said.
In the view of Mr Ivan Klevstov, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Metalwork, Russia, most businesses of Russian heritage have expressed their readiness to explore the Nigerian market and develop strategy of presence in Nigeria.
“Metalwork trading house is part of Euroasian group that provide services in housing, industrial fixture, electronics, oil drilling, security system among others from several Russia based companies.”