*Bilateral trade hits $14bn
By Ndubuisi Francis
Indian-owned companies in Nigeria are the second highest employers of labour in the country after the federal government, the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), has revealed.
The ACCI Director-General, Ms.Victoria Akai, made the disclosure at the India-Nigeria Business Forum, organised in Abuja by the Indian High Commission.
In her presentation at the forum, which drew scores of top players from private and public sectors of India and Nigeria, Akai said
Indian-owned/operated companies are estimated to be the second largest employers of labour in Nigeria after the federal government.
She stated that the Organised Private Sector (OPS) in Nigeria through the Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) signed a friendly cooperation agreement which had been endorsed by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI).
In the agreement, she stated that the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has continued to play a significant role in the development of business relations between Nigeria and India.
According to her, as one of the largest trading partners with Nigeria, India has demonstrated that there are many lessons to be learnt from them, adding that for a third world country to lift millions out of poverty within a record time and move further to be an attractive power to reckon with, Nigeria stands to benefit immensely from working closely with India.
India, the ACCI Director General observed, has given critical support to Nigeria in areas like defence, agriculture, power, automobile, pharmaceuticals, and air travel, among others. “Consequently, I am aware that, over 135 Indian companies are currently operating in Nigeria that are owned and or operated by Indians or Persons-of-Indian origin (PIOs). Prominent among them being Bharti Airtel, Tata, Bajaj Auto, Birla Group, Kirloskar, Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, NIIT, Aptech, New India Assurance, Bhushan Steel, KEC, Skipper Nigeria, Dabur, Godrej, Ranbaxy and Primus Super-speciality Hospital, besides 15 prominent companies in the Nigerian power sector.
“Nigeria-based ethnic Indians are economically active in areas relating to manufacturing and retailing of consumer goods, constructions and air-services. Indian owned/operated companies are estimated to be the second largest employer in Nigeria after the Federal Government of Nigeria,” she explained.
Akai assured that the ACCI would continue to work assiduously to support and facilitate India-Nigeria business relations.
Also in his presentation, Mr. Debmalya Banerjee who led a delegation of the Indian Chamber of Commerce to the forum, said a lot of shared values exist between India and Nigeria.
India, he observed, is the biggest democracy in the world while Nigeria is the biggest democracy in Africa, adding that both nations are important players at the United Nations (UN) and G77.
He stated that Indian companies in Nigeria are the second highest employers of labour after the federal government with over 250,000 workers, stressing that bilateral trade between both countries in 2018/2019 stood at about $14 billion with the balance of trade in favour of Nigeria.
Banerjee disclosed that Indian companies were moving to be more active players in Nigeria’s oil and gas as well as power sectors.