By Rotimi Oke, Reporter (Nigeria)
Ministry of Industry & Trade (MOIT) of the Social Republic (S.R.) Vietnam and The Embassy of S.R. of Vietnam in Nigeria in partnership with Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) on Wednesday jointly organized and hosted The Nigeria – Vietnam Trade and Investment Forum at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja. The event had in attendance a high level delegation from Vietnam led by the Deputy Prime Minister of S.R. of Vietnam as well as other stakeholders from Nigeria.
In his welcome address, President of ACCI, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, stressed the need for both countries to have a larger vision for trade and investment. Prince Kayode, who is also former Minister of Justice and Former Defence Minister of Nigeria opined that “Nigeria and Vietnam must device areas for more economic cooperation, in sectors like oil and gas, maritime , mining, infrastructure, power, transportation, telecommunications and technology. This, is in order to add maximum value to our economies on a win-win basis and to ensure mutual prosperity”.
On bilateral trade relations, statistics for 2018 was revealed. For last year, trade between the two countries was about $400 million. Nigeria’s export to Vietnam, which are mainly raw materials especially cashew nuts was about $232.65 million, while imported from Vietnam goods worth $71.18 million, mostly mobile phones, electronic, textiles, plastic, chemicals and machinery parts. Vietnam is currently the largest export destination for Nigeria’s cashew kernel with average yearly exports of $3.4 million.
The Keynote speaker, H.E Mr. Dang Hoang An, Deputy Minister, MOIT implored Nigerian businessmen and women to make Vietnam their investment destination while he gave assurance of maximum return on investment. He attributed it to political stability, strategic location, high and stable economic growth, favorable investment environment, potential market, deep international integration and global connectivity, abundant human resource as well as low and competitive production cost. Hence, this is why Vietnam should be given priority when it comes to business, trade and investment.
Thereafter, a short video titled:“The business and investment environment in Vietnam” was presented to the audience to corroborate graphically why doing business in Vietnam is profitable.
In response to the keynote by Mr. Dang, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nigeria, Mr. Edet Sunday Akpan, expressed strongly that Nigeria remains the largest market in Africa and therefore have a great demand for any commodity or product that comes in from Vietnam and he urged the Vietnamese businessmen to consider bringing their investment into Nigeria. He commended the move to strengthen the trade ties between the two countries.
He further stated “Nigeria Vietnam collaboration will benefit both countries as Nigeria aligns with diversification agenda of government in reviving the non-oil sector which currently dominate our source of revenue. There is great potential for trade cooperation between Vietnam and Nigeria, and there abound investment opportunities in many sectors in Nigeria, particularly in agricultural sector, agric processing sector, the garment sector, foot wears, mining, production of consumer materials and everything that is in moving the economy forward.”
Some challenges affecting smooth business activities and investment efforts were highlighted by some of the Nigerian business people; they decried some disputes which have had exported goods trapped in Vietnam’s port running into a few years. The Vietnamese business people did not fail to add that they are seeking for investment protection and incentives on their investments in Nigeria.
The roll call at the forum include: Prof. Dr. Vuong Dinh HUE, Deputy Prime Minister, S.R.of Vietnam; Nigerian Ambassador to Vietnam; Vietnamese Ambassador to Nigeria; Alhaji Sani Bello, The Executive Governor of Niger State; Senator Shehu Sanni, former senator of the federal republic of Nigeria; Mr. Kabir Muhammed, Managing Director & CEO of Bank of Agriculture, Businessmen and women from both countries amongst others.
After discussions at the forum, the Vice President of Nigeria, H.E. Prof. Yemi Osibanjo received H.E. Prof. Dr. Vuong Dinh HUE and his team at the Presidential Villa. The meeting witnessed the signing and exchange of the Memorandom of Understanding on waiver of visa requirements for holders of valid diplomatic and official passports.
Osibanjo remarked during the visit that he is confident that both countries can build on the successes recorded in the past while they also work on boosting cooperation in business, trade, and investment as well as social and cultural relationship between both countries.
Prof. HUE agreed with Vice President Obasanjo as he added that both Nigeria and Vietnam have a lot of things in common. There is need to enhance cultural relationship aside boosting economic and trade ties, he said.
The forum ended with a dinner hosted by Prof. Yemi Osibanjo at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja for the Deputy Prime Minister and his entourage.