By Eromosele Abiodun
The Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria Jens-Peter Kjemrud, has estimated that the value of trade between Nigeria and Norway has reached $30 billion (N10.80 trillion).
Kjemprud, stated this while speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting to present and promote the investment opportunities and incentives in Norway for prospective Nigerian investors.
He added that Nigeria is Norway’s biggest trading partner on the African continent, adding that there is a huge potential to do more.
While calling on the Nigerian government to do more in the area of insecurity, he said the government could attract investors buy given investors tax incentives.
He said the proposal by the Nigerian Senate to impose heavy tax on solar power equipment would not help the situation.
“You need to have renewable energy take root in this country, you need to have the incentive not disincentives. The sector needs to be well regulated, organised and you have to attract investors.
“There is still a huge hydro power potential in Nigeria; we seem to be forgetting about that. We also have solar and wind power but the wind power cannot thrive because of insecurity.
“You cannot have wind power in the Gulf of Guinea if have pirates threatening ships. So it is about incentives and providing security.
“This is why we brought some of the most important business actors-team Norway, innovation Norway, Nigerian Norwegian Chambers of Commerce, our new Consul General and the embassy to get together as strong as possible to show what can be done in trade between both countries.
On what aspect of the Nigerian economy Norwegian investors are looking at, he said they are currently looking at the oil and gas industry and also renewable energy.
He added, “As you have heard here today, we have focused a lot on the energy sector, if Nigeria is going to improve in the manufacturing sector, the country need to have stable and cheap power supply.
“If not, the manufacturing sector will not be competitive in the current market. We are one of the biggest players in global maritime activity and we have told our Nigerian partners that technology is the future and Nigeria has to be prepared for it. “There is technology here which is been utilised but there is a need to take it to the entire sector and for government to support it.”
The Chairman Nigerian Norwegian Chambers of Commerce (NNCC), Chijieke Igwe, called on Nigeria to learn from Norway who has been able to grow businesses despite their very tough environment.
He said the chamber was trying its best to tap into Norway’s resilience, discipline and find a way to have that reflect on Nigeria.
Speaking on how the federal government can reduce freight cost for shippers, the Chief Executive Officer of Marine Platforms and Consul General of Norway, Taofik Adgbite, said the way out was for the government to allow private sector players in the industry.
“The market is there but we do not have the capacity. There are foreign monies wanting to participate in that space like the Norwegian export finance but they require government guaranty and local companies to put in equity.
“The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is currently pushing on the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), which can be a guaranty for local ship owners to start building ship capacity. Until we have tonnage, the sector will be dominated by the foreign players.”