The volume of trade between Nigeria and India has hit $17 billion as Nigeria wants a scale-up of private sectors participation.
The increase in the trade volume reached the record high as at 2015 with a significant increase from about $6 billion less than 10 years ago.
At the opening of the India-Nigeria Joint Business Forum in Abuja, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said there was the need to explore new opportunities to enhance growth and sustainable development.
The rise of India as a significant source of investment in Nigeria made it compelling for expanding flows into other areas.
“We should in this regard scale up the involvement of the private sector of our two countries in enhancing growth and sustainable development.”
Some of the areas he envisage fruitful collaboration were information and communications technology, agriculture and agro allied businesses; health matters including investments in the Nigerian health services sector.
The others are energy, especially oil and gas, renewable energy, including solar power; services, education, capacity building and entrepreneurship, and science and technology.
“I am confident that the two sides will also use this opportunity to work out any outstanding business issues relating to bilateral trade and investments including access to agreed credit lines.”
He further reiterated the resolve of the Federal Government to strengthen the country’s economy and create a conducive business environment to enhance the ease of doing business.
“While the Nigeria economy is now facing challenges of a structural nature, we are fully confident that we shall return to positive growth very soon.
“This is because the Nigerian government has responded to the situation by adopting policies to boost economic activities and to lay a foundation for long-term growth.
“Our vision is anchored on a paradigm shift in governance towards transparency and accountability and making it easier to do business as we diversify the economy.’’
He explained that the current poor economic climate was encouraging the government focus on power, roads and rail.
“This business gathering is also coming at a time that Nigeria is pursuing reforms in the oil and gas sector while undertaking major social investments to tackle poverty, equality, and promoting social inclusion.
“We expect that these policies will in turn support the private sector and greater domestic and foreign investment,” he said.
Osinbajo also urged both countries to utilise the Bilateral Air Services Agreement between them to promote greater connectivity and make import and export easier.
Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari, commended Nigeria’s initiatives in strengthening the economy.
Ansari reiterated his government’s commitment to partner with Nigeria in the realisation of economic prosperity.
He noted that both countries had the potential to diversify their relations and enhance cooperation.
The Indian vice president stressed the need for both countries to synergise in the areas of business and economy to expand their relations.