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India, Nigeria agree for early conclusion of local currency settlement system treaty to strengthen economic ties

2nd Session of India-Nigeria Joint Trade Committee held in Abuja (Image Credit: @india_nigeria)

A seven-member delegation from India held a Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting with their Nigerian counterparts in Abuja and identified several areas of focus for enhancing bilateral trade and mutually beneficial investments. The two sides agreed for an early conclusion of the Local Currency Settlement System Agreement to further strengthen bilateral economic ties.

During the discussions held on April 29-30, the delegation from India led by Additional Secretary in the Department of Commerce of the Union Commerce and Industry Ministry, Amardeep Singh Bhatia was accompanied by High Commissioner of India to Nigeria, G Balasubramanian and Economic Adviser, Department of Commerce, Priya P Nair, the ministry said.

The JTC was co-chaired by Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment, Nigeria, Ambassador Nura Abba Rimi, and Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce.

In a press release, the Commerce ministry said, “In a comprehensive dialogue, both sides undertook a detailed review of recent developments in bilateral trade and investment ties and acknowledged the vast untapped potential for further expansion. To this effect, both sides identified several areas of focus for enhancing both bilateral trade as well as mutually beneficial investments.”

“These include resolving of market access issues of both sides, and cooperation in key sectors such as Crude oil and Natural Gas, Pharmaceuticals, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Local Currency Settlement System, Power Sector and Renewable Energy, Agriculture & Food Processing, Education, Transport, Railway, Aviation, MSMEs, Development etc. Both sides agreed to early conclusion of Local Currency Settlement System Agreement to further strengthen bilateral economic ties,” it added.

The official delegation from India included officials from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), EXIM Bank of India, and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). The officials of the two sides actively engaged in the proceedings of the JTC.

The talks were held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere and were fruitful and according to the Commerce Ministry there was enthusiastic response towards greater cooperation, addressing pending issues, boosting trade and investment, greater people-to-people contacts.

During the discussion, India and Nigeria committed to expeditiously addressing all issues impeding bilateral trade and facilitate trade promotion between the two nations.

The business delegation led by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) also accompanied the official delegation which included representatives from various sectors like power, fintech, telecommunications, electrical machinery, pharmaceuticals among others.

The deliberations of the 2nd Session of India-Nigeria JTC were “cordial and forward-looking, indicative of the amicable and special relations between the two countries.”

Nigeria is a major partner- the second largest trading partner of India in Africa region. Bilateral trade between India and Nigeria stood at USD 11.8 billion in 2022-23.

In the year 2023-24, the bilateral trade stood at 7.89 billion showing a declining trend. With a total investment of USD 27 Billion, approximately 135 Indian companies are actively engaged in Nigeria’s vibrant market. These investments traverse diverse sectors, encompassing infrastructure, manufacturing, consumer goods and services.