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Thursday, Nov 04, 2004

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Nigerian President woos Indian investment

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Nov. 3

THE President of Nigeria, Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, said that his Government is redefining the role of the governance in Nigeria and invited Indian investment on a larger scale in several sectors where the business is booming.

Addressing a meeting organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here on Wednesday, he said, "We do realise that the investors have greater choice to put their money and take profit across the globe. The aim of the ongoing reform is to maximise the investor confidence," said Mr Olusegun Obasanjo. Almost 60 per cent of the GDP of West Africa originates from Nigeria, he said.

"We are providing all assistance to overseas investors by minimising the regulatory impediments and streamlining the financial system of Nigeria," the President stressed.

With a population of about 130 million and considerable revenue from oil exports, Nigeria is the largest trading partner of India in Africa. Bilateral annual trade turnover exceeds $3 billion. Earlier, Nigeria occupied the fifth place so far as India's exports to African countries was concerned (after South Africa, Mauritius, Egypt and Kenya). However, Nigeria has now moved to the first place.

Indian companies have sizeable investments in textiles, chemicals, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and fishing to name a few sectors. India has assisted Nigeria through transfer of technology, machinery and expertise in the form of joint ventures and consultancy services. Nigeria also imports more Indian pharmaceuticals than any other country in the African continent.

Trade turnover continues to grow, including in computer components and software services, with large potential for Indian project exports in railways, power generation and electricity transmission, telecommunications, defence and machine tools. India's import of crude oil from Nigeria remains substantial, as Nigeria is one of the few producers of the sweet varieties required by Indian refineries.

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