President, Nigeria-Saudi Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Engr. Ibrahim Usman has said through the Chamber, the economy and commerce of Nigeria and Saudi Arabia would be boosted.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja when he presented a copy of the Certificate of Registration for the Nigeria-Saudi Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture to the Minister of Information and Culture Alh Lai Mohammed, he said the official volume of trade between the two friendly and oil rich countries were disappointing, despite the numbers of Nigerians who flood the country for Umrah and Hajj.
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He said so far, the trade volume was about five million dollars hence, it was likely to increase over the years the business relationship commenced.
Usman said it took 12 years to get the Chambers registered, noting that the delay cost the both countries a lot because there was no platform where they could relate from.
He said Nigerians had not taken advantage of Saudi’s magnanimity by creating excellent windows of assistance to encourage bilateral as well as to support underprivileged businesses in countries like Nigeria.
According to him, about 46 countries including Egypt, Ghana amongst others had always enjoyed billions of dollars in soft credit and trade-related soft-term facilities under the Saudi export program, yet Nigeria had not benefited at all.
Usman said the refineries of Saudi Arabia were all working and they produced different types of essential raw materials and industrial chemicals required worldwide, stressing that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) should take a cue from the country and improve its oil sector to work better.
He also insisted that Nigeria should learn from Saudi Arabia who produce different products such as electronics, industrial raw materials, transformers, electric cables, aluminum claddings amongst other materials which they export to other countries, stressing that they now diversify their economy as per their 2030 vision document and reach out to other countries.
According to him, many Saudi’s were looking out for profitable investment windows in friendly countries such as Nigeria, but businesses have been unable to capitalize on such opportunities due to lack of an organized, reliable, safe and very secure private sector platforms like a chamber of commerce.
He explained that many high profile and rich Saudi individuals and companies had been very disappointed in their attempted to set up in Nigeria due to bureaucracy, loss of money to local Nigerian partners who were not credible and they felt insecure with the investment climate.
He said apart from Mecca and Umra, other parts of the country were open for anyone from any tribe and religion to go do business.
Usman said there would be a 60 man delegation from Saudi Arabia who would be in Nigeria for the second session of the Nigeria-Saudi Arabia joint commission scheduled for the 3rd – 5th October this year for the signing of a memorandum of understanding meant to lay a very solid, safe and reliable foundation for business, trade and economic development between both countries.
On his part, Minister of Information and Culture, Alh Lai Mohammed commended the President’s effort to get the Chambers registered, noting that his major Objective was to change the narrative and ensure the relationship between the two countries should not end at Umrah and Hajj but create a bridge to make the two countries better for their citizens.
He called on Nigerians to take advantage of the Chamber to deepen the business relationship between the both countries.