Buy More Nigeria Oil, FG Tells India, Seeks Rail Sector Collaboration 

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Udoma Udo Udoma

By Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma has solicited India’s increased purchase of Nigeria’s oil, even as he expressed Nigeria’s readiness to collaborate  with the country in the rail sector.

Udoma said although India was one of Nigeria’s largest trading partners, especially in crude oil, Nigeria would want the Asian country to buy more of its oil and also develop interest in the country’s gas sector.

Udoma noted that President Muhammadu Buhari administration had a vision and dream of connecting every city and town in Nigeria with standard gauge rail lines, adding that Nigeria would stand to benefit from India’s experience as well as assistance in achieving the goal in the rail sector.

“This is an area we will like to collaborate with you to see how we can tap from India’s experience,” he said in a statement issued by his Special Adviser (Media and Communication), Mr. Akpandem James.

Nigeria and India, he said, had a lot to benefit from each other through development cooperation, told the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. AbhayThakur, who visited him in Abuja on Thursday.

Udoma said that there were lots of potential in Nigeria that India could tap while Nigeria had a lot to learn from India’s successes in the areas of technology, particularly rail and power, as well as human capital development.

He explained that the Buhari administration was focused on bridging the infrastructure gap in the country, particularly transportation and power infrastructure, adding that it was very desirous of creating avenues to lift majority of Nigerians out of poverty through agriculture and other empowerment
programmes.

Like India, Udoma stated that Nigeria had been working hard to bring

down its poverty levels, which was why government was putting a lot of

resources in the area of empowering poor and vulnerable persons and

lifting them out of poverty.

According to him, N500 billion was provided annually in the national

budget for social intervention programmes which were targeted at

empowering the people so that they could be useful to themselves and

the society.

He emphasised that under the Social Intervention Programme (SIP), “we

are not just giving the people fish, we are also teaching people how

to fish.|”

He assured the High Commissioner that the tempo of economic activities

in the country will not slow down due to the forthcoming general

elections as “the President is not looking at the next election, but

looking at the next generation with the purpose of taking Nigeria to

the next level”.

The High Commissioner, who resumed work in Nigeria last month said

India was willing to strengthen its development cooperation with

Nigeria and would be glad if Nigeria can take advantage of some of the

assistance programmes the Indian Government has made available to the

African continent.

He pointed out that although the leaders of the two countries had some

dreams about development cooperation in some critical areas, some of

those dreams are yet to be transformed into real projects on the

ground.

Thakur said India would like to collaborate further with Nigeria in

the rail and power sectors as well as any other areas of interest to

Nigeria.