By Chibuzo Okere
The Federal Government has expressed its readiness to partner with the Steel Exporters Association of Turkey to further develop the country’s economy, especially in the iron and steel sub-sector.
Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom, gave the indication while receiving the delegation of the association led by its chairman, Mr. Namik Ekinci and accompanied by the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Ali Rifat Koksal in Abuja.
Ortom, who called on the group in particular and the government of Turkey in general to take Nigeria’s advantage of population and abundant resources to invest in the country, assured them of the government’s support to succeed in such venture.
He described Turkey as one of fastest growing economies in the world and said Nigeria “will take advantage of what is being done in Turkey to develop the Nigerian economy in all ways possible for the benefit of our people”.
The minister added: “Though Nigeria still imports steel from Turkey, the present administration is keen in attracting investments into the country”.
“Nigeria is blessed with abundant natural resources and we want you to explore the opportunity in the country to invest your steel business here. Nigeria has a population of over 160 million people who are naturally talented”, he stated.
Ortom maintained that Nigeria still imports steel not only from Turkey, but also from China and India due to the economic use of the product, assuring the delegation that the country would be a good market for their business to thrive.
Speaking in the same vein, the Director of Trade in the ministry, Mr. David Adejuwon, called for stronger trade relation between the two countries, urging the Turkish investors to also consider agriculture value chains with a view to helping the continued growth of the country’s economy.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation had informed that Nigeria imports 10 per cent of steel produced in Turkey, describing it as part of Turkish contribution to the economy of the country.
Ekinci added that 85 per cent of such trade agreement was fulfilled by Turkey before the first quarter of last year, pointing out that his country is renowned for high quality steel production and demand across the world.
According to him, Turkey produced 24.1 million tonnes of steel in 2011 with 10th position in the world, but moved up to the eighth position this year with its $17 million steel exportation to countries across the world.
“As President Goodluck Jonathan is targeting to make Nigeria one of the leading economies of the world by 2020, so Turkey wants to be if possible by 2013. Nigeria is an investment destination and we are here to make our presence felt in terms of economic development”, he said.
Also speaking, the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Ali Rifat Koksal revealed that Nigeria is the second trade partners of Turkey in the sub-Saharan Africa, pointing out that trade relations between the two countries increased by more 50 per cent last year.