Nigeria-Saudi Cooperation Will Boost Trade Relations – Minister
Minister of information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said that the debut of the Nigeria-Saudi Arabia Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NSCCIMA) will help boost trade volume between both countries and bridge trust deficit,
Mohammed stated when the president of the chamber, Ibrahim Usman went to present him a copy of the certificate of registration of the chamber.
According to the minister, the NSCCIMA will not only improve trade but also become a clearing house for businesses and investments, noting that it will serve as the beginning of a new and lasting business relationship between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.
“It will change the narrative of the relationship between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia from the narrow perspective of religion and pilgrimage.
“It will create a bridge for better cooperations between the two important nations in the areas of petroleum industry, cottage industry, IT, Power, and creative industry.
“It is, therefore, not a coincidence that Nigeria will soon be receiving 60 inter-ministerial delegations from Saudi Arabia,” Mohammed said.
The minister urged the Nigerian business community to grab the ample opportunity of the chamber to maximise trade volume between both countries, charging them to do away with the perception that non-Muslim cannot invest or do business in Saudi Arabia.
The NSCCIMA president expressed that despite the increasingly large number of Nigerians trooping to Saudi Arabia for ‘Umrah and Hajj’, that the official measure of trade between both countries is at a low ebb.
Usman asserted that Nigerians had not taken the advantage of the country’s mutual relationship and magnanimity by developing enabling and excellent windows of assistance through bilateral relationship.
“For instance, whereas 46 countries including Egypt, Pakistan, Sudan, Kenya, Ghana have been enjoying billions of dollars in soft loans and trade related soft term facilities under the Saudi Export Programme, no single dollar of facility was advanced to any business in Nigeria,” he noted.
Nigeria has a lot to learn from Saudi Arabia which had over decades built and developed jaw blowing industrial estates in major cities, corroborating the minister that religion would not be a hindrance to investors as the Saudi government is opening up its immigration and economic policies based on its 2030 vision.