Trade volume between Nigeria and India has dropped from $16 billion in 2015 to $12 billion in 2016.
The acting Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Kaiser Alam, stated this at a reception to mark the 68th Republic Day of India in Abuja, saying the drop was caused by declining oil prices in the international market.
“We were importing the same amount but the oil prices came down. Above all, our trade was the same and the trade surplus was in favour of Nigeria,” he said.
Mr. Alam said 2016 marked a significant year in bilateral relations, adding that both countries sought to expand relations in all areas.
On agriculture, the envoy said the Indian vice president, Hamid Ansari, was in Nigeria last year and issues such as agriculture was discussed.
He said Nigeria’s agriculture ministry officials will visit India in March and it is hoped the visit will discuss further cooperation and implement ideas.
On bilateral relations, he said there is always room for improvement while scholarship slots for short-term courses under the India Technical and Economic Cooperation, ITEC, had been increased from 200 to 300.
Mr. Alam added that the increase will open more opportunities for Nigerian government officials to participate in such platforms to improve their skills in various areas.
In his remark, the minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who was represented by the ministry’s director of regions, Mohammed Suleiman, urged both countries to strengthen economic relations to reduce trade imbalance.
The minister said this could be achieved by creating more access for Nigerian products in Indian markets.