Nigeria’s bilateral trade with Australia hits $2 billion
THE bilateral trade between between Nigeria and Australia has hit $2 billion, the Australia’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Jonathan Richardson, has said.
Richardson, who disclosed this an interview in Abuja after the Australia Day reception, told journalists that the export from Nigeria has dropped “a bit” but the amount of imports into Nigeria from Australia has been very high.
He stated that oil and gas constitute much of imports from Nigeria to Australia, while his country has been shipping into the West African country wheat, industrial and domestic equipment.
He added that a lot of Australian investors have been engaging themselves in Nigeria’s mining and infrastructure sectors..
“The level of exports from Nigeria has dropped a bit. Our exports are very high, we want to keep them higher”, he said.
While calling on the political class to ensure that coming general elections are free and fair, Richardson said the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and Australia has grown over the last few years.
“Politically, we have increased high level political contact with the visit of President Jonathan to Australia for CHOGHOM and the other bilateral meetings and programmes in 2011.
“There has been ministry level talks between our two foreign ministers, which is on an annual basis. We have also expanded our development cooperation and we have a number of development scholarships and training schools from which Nigerians from the public and private sectors and civil society have graduated in different courses.
“There have been other short training courses in Australia in areas like agriculture, mining, governance and infrastructure”, he said.
The High Commissioner also disclosed that his country has close relationship with Nigeria in the area of combating terrorism, while Australia has been working with civil society organisations in terms of electoral education, to put in place ways to resolve conflicts through dialogue.
Commenting on the support being rendered to Nigeria to counter terrorism, the High Commissioner said “Nigeria didn’t reject help. We said we will be happy to help in any way that Nigeria deems fit; and the main area that we have taken up is combating violent extremism, not in military area but we are supporting programmes being developed by the Office of the National Security Adviser.”
Richardson said since 2010, about 220 Nigerians have gone on training programmes to Australia; 100 on post graduate Masters level scholarships while some were on short term trainings.