Director NORAD, Bjorn Holter Eriksen (left); Regional Director, Innovation Norway, Ole Johan Sandvaer; Chairman Nigerian Norwegian Chamber of Commerce( NNCC) ; Chijioke Igwe; Ambassador of Norway to Nigeria, Jens-Petter Kjemprud; Vice Chairman NNCC, Bertrand Huet; and Director-General (Interim) NNCC, Adebowale Ed Doherty, at the business roundtable held by the Chamber, in Lagos.
•Government targets $18 billion by 2019
To boost bilateral ties and increase inflows of foreign direct investments, stakeholders within Nigeria and Norway have sought opportunities in the non-oil sector in addressing economic challenges bedevilling the two nations.
Besides, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has identified a potential earning of $18 billion from non-oil export sector by 2019 if opportunities in the sector are properly harnessed.
According to stakeholders, the challenges impacting both on the Nigerian and Norwegian national economies have created unprecedented opportunities to strengthen commerce and investment ties between our countries.
Speaking at the Nigerian Norwegian Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly business roundtable in Lagos, the Chairman of the Chamber, Chijioke Igwe stated that though the global economy is undergoing both structural and cyclical adjustments, due in part to the collapse of energy prices, there are significant areas of complement across the economic landscapes of both Norway and Nigeria.
He said: “Both our countries have had a long and productive trade relationship over many years; both economies are also committed to economic diversification from the traditional engine of growth, the energy sector
“While Norway has a highly developed industrial and services base, Nigeria presents viable investment potential, with the wealth of human capital, agriculture, mineral resources, infrastructure and value added manufacturing”.
The Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo stated that the Federal Government’s agenda to replace oil as the major national foreign exchange earner will see the country’s earnings growing to $30 billion by 2025 if there is an increase in production output from farms, while exporters explore ways to penetrate new markets.
Awolowo stated that the outputs from the farms are very low to meet local demand, even as pressure rises to increase foreign exchange earnings from non-oil export.
“The world’s largest exporters tend to be wealthier than other nations even as only three countries in the top 20 exporters depend mainly on oil exports. It is time for Nigeria to plan for a future with zero oil. As such we are focusing on sectors based on financial value, degree of complexity and products where the nation has comparative advantage”, he added.
Citing the need to deepen trade ties between Nigeria and EU countries, the Head of Trade and Economics section, EU Common Embassy in Nigeria, Filippo Amato stated that the body is interested in the development of the country and would not jeopardise its growth.
Igwe added that the NNCC was established in order to create a platform to facilitate trade and investment, remove perception barriers and mitigate transaction risks that its members might experience in exploiting the commercial potential in Nigeria.