The Turkish government has stated that the observed boom in the Nigerian economy encouraged them to bring investors to channel funds into steel production in the country.
To this end, a high-powered Turkish business delegation has held an executive business parley with their Nigerian counterparts to seek ways of promoting trade between Nigeria and Turkey, especially in steel and industry.
Speaking at the business parley in Lagos, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Economy, representing the Turkish government, Mr. Yavuz Ozutku, said the business delegation comprising Turkish steel manufacturers and exporters is in Nigeria because of the good relation between the two countries.
“Just two weeks ago there was a Turkish exhibition in Lagos. And now we are here with the Turkish Steel manufacturers and exporters. Steel is an important product for us. Last year, steel and iron was number one in our exports to Nigeria. This is because Nigeria has a booming economy and in such an economy construction is the most important sector,” he said.
The delegation representing 21 leading companies across Turkey and Europe, which came under the auspices of Turkish Steel Exporters’ Association, is led by its board chairman, Mr. NamÄ±k Ekinci.
Ekinci, who spoke through an interpreter, said their visit not only demonstrates the growing importance of Nigeria as a key emerging market but also as a potential strategic trading partner with Turkey in the steel sector.
“The reason why we are in Nigeria is to meet and introduce ourselves to the business community and share experiences with Nigerian business people because Turkish business in Nigeria has increased. For this reason, we have come with 21 leading companies to meet with the Nigerian business fraternity,” he stated.
He said the two countries not only have joint economic committee meetings, Turkey and Nigeria have trade involvement of nearly $1.2 billion in 2011, adding that the figure for this year is already in the upward swing.
Ozutku also said domestic trade and export were the two important issues that would be of benefit to both countries.
He said he was delighted to hear that Nigeria has a strategy for 2020, adding that the most important aspect of the strategy was that the country’s ambition to be one of the biggest 20 countries in the world.
He said just like Nigeria, Turkey has a plan for 2023; which is the 100th anniversary of Turkish Republic and the latter’s goal in 2023 is to be one of the tenth biggest economies in the world.
“Nigeria and Turkey are not so different because we are going to the same direction and therefore we would like to have more and more business with Nigeria because both countries need it. So we are here to boost trade; not only that, investment is also an important part of our mission,” he explained.
The Turkish companies represented are offering a wide range of steel products, including HR/CR coils, diamond and tear-drop pattern plates, wire rods, billets, beams, bars, hollow sections, tubes, pipes and other steel products.
Also at the parley, the Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) said the huge presence of Nigerian business people at the parley was an indication that Nigerians are ready to take their dreams in their hands regarding the future and infrastructural development of the country.
The Chamber’s president, Mr. Herb Ademola Ajayi, said there was no way construction and infrastructure could be done if the steel sector was not developed.
Ajayi, who described the visit of the Turkish business people as pleasing, urged the federal government to take full advantage of the visit of the Turkish steel manufacturers and exporters if Nigeria’s dream of infrastructural development is to be achieved.
He also said there were enough proofs to show that the private sector is prepared to harness the economic potentials in the country. He however noted that though the private sector has a duty to change the future of Nigeria in the next three years, the public sector has to provide the enabling environment for the private sector to drive the economy.
“The beauty of the Turkish businessmen is that their products speak volume in terms of quality and competitive prices. Turkey has developed its economy as number one in the production of steel and has closeness with Europe,” he enthused.