LCCI, Poland Chamber Sign MoU, Reawaken Nigeria-Poland Trade,  Relations

Dike Onwuamaeze

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the Poland Chamber of Commerce (PCC) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during the Nigeria-Polish Business Forum held in Lagos.

The MoU also rekindled the moribund business relationship existing between Nigeria and Poland since 1961 when the two nations first signed a bilateral trade agreement.

The President of LCCI, Dr. Michael Oluwale Cole, stated that the purpose of the MoU and the business forum was to enable members of the Polish delegation to Nigeria and their Nigerian counterparts to discuss investment opportunities in the two countries.  

Cole said the delegation was a follow up to the visit made by the President of Poland, Mr. Andrzej Duda, to Nigeria in 2022, that marked a turning point and new beginning to the strengthening of Nigeria-Poland diplomatic and economic ties.

He told the Polish Chamber of Commerce’s delegation that their visit to, “Nigeria is quite significant as you are the very first delegation the LCCI will welcome to Nigeria following the nations transition to a new government on May 29.

“We are hopeful that the new government will address all the regulatory and foreign exchange related issues that have affected the flow of investment into the country,” Cole said.

He added that presently the significant areas of bilateral trade between Nigerian and Polish investments were food, ICT, and construction. But “today’s discussion is expected to help open more sectors for investment in both countries,” Cole said.

In his address to the business forum, the Secretary of State, Ministry of Economic Development and technology, Poland, Mr. Grzegorz Piechowiak, said  he was deeply convinced that this event would significantly broaden the knowledge on the dynamics of the Polish economy, as well as vast opportunities Poland offers to Nigerian entrepreneurs.

Piechowiak said: “I know that some of the Polish and Nigerian companies present here have already established contacts between them and I encourage the rest to follow this example.

“As the secretary of state leading the ministry’s efforts in the field of bilateral economic relations, I would like to focus on the chances to intensify cooperation between Poland and Nigeria.”

Speaking in the same vein, the Ambassador of Poland, Mrs. Joanna Tarnawska, appreciated the efforts of Polish entrepreneurs who made it to Nigeria in search of new avenues of corporation with Nigerian partners.

Tarnawska said: “I assure you that you are in the right place. With the visit of our President, Mr. Duda, last year and with the election of President Tinubu in Nigeria, we hope to see a great development in the corporation between Poland and Nigeria in trade and commerce.

“In this vibrant (Nigerian) market, I am sure you will find your own niche and the way to develop. So, do not get discouraged. Work hard to bring about an enhancement of the bilateral relationship between our two countries.”

Similarly, the Ambassador of Nigeria to Poland, Major General Christain Onuoha Ugwu (rtd), said  the business forum between Nigerian and Polish business people in Lagos was important because the meeting came at a time that Nigeria had just inaugurated a new President, Senator Ahmed Tinubu, a man with the zeal to revamp the economic sector of Nigeria.

Ugwu said: “I am happy that today this forum is a reality. I, therefore, expect a robust discussion that will lead to a vibrant economic relation between Nigeria and Poland.

“Nigeria signed its first trade agreement with Poland in 1961. Unfortunately, this trade agreement remained moribund. We hope that with this meeting today it is going to be resuscitated.”

He added that the resilience of Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PITA) to organise this forum would give impetus to both countries economic corporation.

“It is also a welcomed opportunities for business groups from both countries to interact and engage in an enduring bilateral corporation.

“Nigeria is a large market with abundant natural resources such as oil and gas, gold and many others. Polish investors in mining are hereby invited to invest in the avalanche of minerals available in Nigeria.

“Nigeria business group are very reliable and willing to collaborate with foreign investors and I wish the Polish business people will cue to this,” Ugwu said, adding that “it is on record that the trade transactions between Nigeria and Poland has been very low and need to be taken up for ultimate benefits of both nations.”

In his short remark, The President of Polish Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Marek Ktoczko, said  it was  satisfactory that he led Polish business delegation to Nigeria after quite a long time.

Ktoczko noted that though the delegation was not huge, the companies that they, “represent are very important sectors from energy, food, infrastructures, multi industry design, manufacturers of LPG, power generators and so on.

“This delegation is the first step, and very important step and I fully believe that after the successes of members on this mission there will be many other Polish companies to establish corporation with Nigerian partners.”

According to the Head of Foreign Trade Office in Lagos and the PITA, Mrs. Justyna Sitarska, the business forum as well as the signing of the MoU were proofs that the economic exchange and cordial relationship between Poland and Nigeria are crucial for both countries.

Sitarska said  the Polish trade office was especially proud of the fact that the value of trade between Poland and Nigeria is growing every year, and just last year increased to approximately $800 million.

She, however, noted that Polish export to Africa was nearly one per cent of all Polish exports globally.

“There is a solid ground for us to improve this trade volume not in favour of any country but in a mutually beneficially way.

“As a Polish Investment and Trade Agency, we help Polish companies to enter foreign markets. We help entrepreneurs chose the most effective expansion part abroad. We work in synergy with many other institutions to provide holistic offer that includes the financing and credit insurance of their project.

“I want to remark that Polish ECA has not used up its limits for guarantee for Africa. It still have limits. So, if we have great projects we can bring it to them to get the guarantees and export credits,” she said.

However, the Deputy President of LCCI, Mr. Knut Ulvmoen, who is also the group executive director of Dangote Group, assured the delegation from Poland that Nigeria is the ideal place to come to do business in Africa.  Nigeria.

He said: “They are looking for win-win approach and I can say that Nigeria is a paradise for them. It is the best place for them to be.”   

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