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Nigeria, Austria leverage new investments to facilitate $255m trade ties


Commercial Counsellor, Austrian Embassy, Guido Stock(left); Chief Executive Officer, Austrian Technologies Nigeria Limited, Johann Rieger; Team leader, Test and Training International (TTI), Franz Wurz; Lagos State Sector Commander, FRSC, Hyginus Omeje and General Manager, Powergas, Sumeet Singh duringa business networking conference on two new investment and technology transfer opportunities hosted by the Austrian Embassy in partnership of Powergas and ETEFA in Lagos Photo: Ayodele Adeniran 

Nigeria and Austria have announced plans to increase and strengthen trade ties as the volume of trade between both countries stood at $255 million.Indeed, both countries pointed out the need to explore investible areas, noting that there are lots of trade opportunities Nigeria and Austria can achieve working closely.

The Commercial Counselor, Austrian Embassy, Guido Stock, at a cocktail dinner to introduce new investment and technology transfer opportunities in Lagos, said the trade relationship between both countries is heavily in favour of Nigeria due to Austria’s high dependence of crude oil import from Nigeria.

He said: “The volume of trade between both countries fluctuates a lot because it depends on how much oil we buy on yearly basis from Nigeria. Export wise from Austria to Nigeria is about $55 million while from Nigeria, we import $200 million of crude oil.”On the investment and technology, the Commercial Counselor explained that if well implemented, it will help Nigeria manage the usage of energy in Nigeria while also reducing the level of accidents on Nigerian roads.

“We have two projects; one is the usage of gas as a power source for vehicles, this will drastically reduce the nation’s dependence on diesel, reduce emissions because gas is much cleaner than diesel while also saving foreign exchange and protecting the environment.

“The project is already being implemented, but I hope we gain speed. The second project is the drivers’ training. We are looking at ways of training drivers for safety in a bid to reduce the rate of accidents on Nigerian roads,” he said.In his welcome address, the General Manager, Powergas, Sumeet Singh reiterated the company’s commitment to positively contributing to clean environment, especially in Nigeria.

According to him, Nigeria’s yearly diesel importation is the same as the Natural Gas being flared, adding that, “We know that diesel imports are US Dollar dependent, hence increasing the cost of fuel and decreasing the country’s scarce forex reserves.

Sumeet opined that if all of Nigeria’s flared gas is captured and processed, it can power up to 200,000 city buses (public transport) or 200,000 trucks (commercial transport), or even double Nigeria’s power generation capacity, while significantly improving the quality of the air (lower carbon & particulate emissions).

“The introduction of gas-fired city buses for public transport would significantly lower ticket prices for passengers. This would especially have a positive impact on the lower income populace who spend up to 40 per cent of their monthly income on public transport”, he added.He said the introduction of the gas-fired city buses is expected to save Nigeria over US$ 2.5 billion per year by reducing fuels costs in the transportation and power generation sector by over 30 per cent.

He said natural gas on the other hand is one of the most environmentally friendly energy sources, stressing that with abundant reserves of 188 tcf (Trillion Cubic Feet), Nigeria has the largest gas reserves in Africa.

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