The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( LCCI) has emphasised on the need to increase Nigeria’s participation in global trade, noting that this is the surest way to achieve the nation’s quest to achieve economic diversification.
The President, LCCI, Dr. Nike Akande, said the time to play an active role in international trade is now considering the recent development of the crash of crude oil price globally.
Akande, during the launch of RuNitrade, an e-commerce platform expected to provide opportunities for companies in Nigeria and Russia to directly communicate, negotiate and reach business deals using this e-commerce platform said the Nigerian and Russian economies had similarities in some ways, adding that both economies were oil producing countries and also rich in natural gas, but stressed that the Russian economy is much bigger and more advanced technologically.
According to her, the level of trade between both countries is still very low, pointing out that with closer cooperation between the private sector of both economies, the level of trade can be improved.
“We can benefit a lot from Russian technology in many fields. There are also tremendous opportunities for cooperation and investment relations in infrastructure development, especially power and engineering infrastructure,” she said.
In her words, “We are excited about our collaboration with the Russian business on the e-commerce platform that we are launching today. This will further boost trade and investment relations between both countries. There is great value in deploying technology to promote trade. Already e-comerce has gained wide acceptance in our retail trade sector.”
She said as a country, Nigeria has a lot to offer in business and economic relations, adding that the Nigerian economy offers the largest market on the African continent.
“Our Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) of over $500 billion is the largest in the continent, we are richly endowed in natural resources, our macroeconomic fundamentals are still strong despite the current global issues with commodity prices, we have one of the most enterprising population in the world and our democracy is stable for the past 17 years,” she said.
She assured that the chamber would extend all necessary support to improve trade and investment relations between both countries.
“I believe there is a great deal of benefit in the promotion of trade relations between countries. It makes it possible for countries across the world to complement one another. No country of the world has competitive advantage in everything,” she added.
Also speaking at the event, the President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pskov, Russia, Mr. Vladimir Zubov, said a platform such as RUNITrade has been a long awaited and necessary tool, which the business community needs not only in Russia but also in other developing countries, adding that the project gives participants the opportunity to promote new products which serves as a bold step forward for trade development, investments and international relationships between both countries.
“We are ready to support B2B-RuNiTrade project on its way to success. I have high hopes for this project and I believe that according to the recent events and agreements reached on political and economic issues, we will have possibility to organise more trade missions between our countries, this will help us to continue the development of mutually beneficial partnership and cooperation in the area of trade and investment.
The Managing Director, Trailtrans Logistics and RuNitrade, Mr. Uwem Sampson, said the volume of trade between Nigeria and Russia is a little above $300 million, saying that the volume is relatively low when compared to the GDP of both countries.
He said the e-trading platform is designed for Russian and Nigerian business communities enabling both to gain long lasting relationship for mutual benefits.
He noted that it is the first ever business to business e-commerce marketplace particularly designed and developed in accordance to the Nigerian and Russian business requirements.
He said it would bring businesses from both countries on one platform where they will be able to buy and sell goods in a business friendly environment.
“It will also help to establish good perception, harmony as well as trust between Russian and Nigerian businesses.
He highlighted that the major benefit of this platform will provide a platform for companies in both countries to directly communicate, negotiate and reach a business deal using this e-commerce platform.
“Companies from both countries can use this platform as buyers or suppliers to buy and sell their products to each other. However, they may also sell their products all over the world. RuNitrade as a platform is a fast, secure and efficient trading solution acting as a gateway for export in a one window operation,” he said.