Russian Investors Targets Nigeria Agriculture, Oil & Gas Sectors

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Gilbert Ekugbe

Russian investors have announced plans to invest in Nigeria’s agriculture and oil and gas sectors in the coming years.

According to the Nigerian ambassador to Russia, Prof Abdullahi Shehu, these investors are also seeking to support Nigeria in addressing its high level of insecurity with massive investments in security equipment.

Shehu stated that this at the Nigeria-Russia Business Forum it jointly organised with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in Lagos.

He however stated that the trade volume between Nigeria and Russia has increased from $300 million to $600 million in three years.

He said although, the trade which is in favour of the Russian government is due to the massive exportation of machinery into Nigeria, even as he said plans are underway to encourage Nigerian manufacturers to export finished products taking cognisance of standards for product competitiveness.

He also stated that Nigeria and Russia have forged bilateral trade ties aimed at fostering relations between both countries in the agriculture, oil and gas and security equipment sectors.

The ambassador said the objective of the mission was to interact with Nigerian businesses and understand the market systems to mitigate risks and promote bilateral relationships in several sectors of the Nigerian economy.

He noted Nigeria’s position as the entry point for Russia and other businesses to Africa, said the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) would also guarantee high returns on investments.

He said that a key area beneficial to the tie is steel development; an important component of industrialisation of any country with significant contribution to Gross Domestic Product, employment creation among others.

Shehu lauded the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to provide significant reforms aimed at creating better Nigerian business environment and improving its ease of doing business ranking.

He, however, charged government to pay more attention to the issue of insecurity and corruption to further drive investment and enable the country take its rightful position in the comity of nations.
Shehu charged Nigerians in diaspora to continue to support the country with not only remittances but strong investments to drive economic growth and development.

“Economic diplomacy is a main thrust of our foreign policy and we have galvanised the skills, expertise of Nigerians abroad through foreign direct investments to drive economic development.Within the framework of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+), Russia is a country we must engage with being one of the largest oil and gas business dealers in the world.

“In the area of security, Russia has great potential that can assist Nigeria in its current situations but diplomacy means the country has to be invited before it can interfere. Lagos because of its strategic location as an export state and proximity to raw materials, market, port etc is positioned as a choice state for investments,” he said.

Deputy President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr Knut Ulvmoen said the Nigerian business environment had improved remarkably.

This, he said, was following government’s resolve through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to eliminate structural bottlenecks to the ease of doing business.

Ulvmoen said the country’s business landscape offered numerous opportunities for potential and existing investors to expand their investment commitment or new investors planning to bring fresh investments into the country.

He said that areas of opportunities included favorable demography, high population, diversification efforts, and strong financial markets.

“Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, with a nominal GDP of about $450 billion and its huge economic size has attracted several international investors across the globe. The economy is largely diversified in terms of activities across industrial, services and agricultural sectors, ”he said.

The Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora (NIDO) Russia, Mr Samson Uwem, the said exposure to Russian business and vice versa would engender technology exchange, and technical training of personnel.

Umem urged government to further tackle issues hindering trade and investments in Nigeria to encourage more Russian companies partner and localise production in Nigeria.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Metalwork, Russia, Mr Ivan Klevstov expressed readiness to explore the Nigerian market and develop strategy of presence in Nigeria.

“Metalwork trading house is part of Euroasian group that provide services in housing, industrial fixture, electronics, oil drilling, security system among others from several Russia based companies.

We are looking to open stations for technical support for Russia manufacturers in Nigeria to help Nigerians get spare parts and other services from Russia on time,” he said.