Nigeria and India have renewed commitment to deepen their traditional economic ties with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) playing the pivotal role in order to synergise efforts that will develop and sustain activities between the two countries.
This commitment was made in Abuja on Tuesday, when the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Abhay Thakur paid a familiarisation visit to the President of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Prince Adetokunbo Kayode as part of his early activities after assumption of duties in the country.
HE Mr. Abhay Thakur and Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, CON., SAN
In his speech, Prince Kayode expressed the desire of the Chamber in particular and the OPS in general to work with the High Commissioner in order to resuscitate the old cherished relationship that saw both countries working on programmes, projects and activities that made for shared prosperity.
He also said one of the most important issues to him is the need to establish Nigeria-India Industrial Parks as well as set up the Nigerian-Indian Business Council that would midwife carefully lined up action points and timelines in the dedicated cooperation.
“I am aware that both India and Nigeria in the past carried out several activities which saw to the establishment of Industrial areas in Lagos and other parts of the country. Both countries are traditional friends and it is immensely important for us to resuscitate the old cherished relationship and even take it to a higher pedestal in order to add value to our economies, create jobs, develop specific sectors and feed the people.
“The issue of industrialisation is very key to the country especially at this point in time and that is why to me, it is important that we move with the world and take measures to establish Nigerian-Indian Industrial Parks that will be targeted at specific sectors such as textile, metal, automobile, Information Communication Technology (ICT), amongst others.
“Equally, it is my request that Your Excellency would also fast track activities on your side to ensure that we establish the Nigerian-Indian Business Council here and also set up the same in India to serve as a link between the two countries. This will help both countries. We will trade and cooperate among ourselves easier than we are currently doing. And our transactions will move on much more swiftly”, the President stated.
Prince Kayode also explained the four Centres established by ACCI under his administration to handle specialised functions such as training, alternative dispute resolution, policies direction and trade facilitation and promotion. The Centres are: Abuja Trade Centre (ATC); Business Entrepreneurial Skills and Technology (BEST); Policy Advocacy Centre (PAC) and Dispute Resolution Centre (DRC).
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, VP ICT &Provost of BEST, Indian Deputy HC, HE Mr. Abhay Thakur, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode CON.,SAN, DG, Mrs. Tonia Shoyele respectivly.
In his speech, Mr. Thakur who was accompanied by the Deputy High Commissioner, Mr. Subhash Chand, expressed satisfaction with the ideas brought forth by ACCI President and agreed that, even as both countries are not doing badly in terms of trading ties, a lot more efforts still needs to be injected into their relationship for both countries to maximally cooperate amongst themselves.
He said the government of his home country set aside $100 billion as aid to Africa but as of now, only about half of the sum has been dispensed adding that if processes are perfected, the rest will be channelled into some of the projects listed during the course of the discussion.
The High Commissioner also reiterated the commitment of the Embassy to work with the Chamber in areas that are critical to economic development pointing out that most of them such as the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) and elimination of double taxation have already been handled at the Executive level and in a short while, agreements will be signed to that effect.
Mr. Thakur who was deployed from Mauritius to Nigeria expressed worry over the bureaucratic regime in most African countries as well as lack of priority as a source of impediment to most of the intentions of his country towards aiding some countries in Africa.
He used the occasion to push for the establishment of Chamber’s Chief Executive Officers Council in order to discuss issues of common concern that will add value to the growth and development of their respective economies just as he informed about the ICT projects he undertook in Mauritius that created new skill sets.
The High Commissioner used the visit to prevail on the President to attend the event in Gujarat holding later this week where national and international Chamber leaders are meeting to discuss areas of partnerships and collaborations.