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‘MoU with Indonesia opens doors for economic enhancement’

By Isaac Taiwo and Michael Adefowoke
01 August 2017   |   4:15 am
The ties coming up this time ahead of 32nd Trade Expo in Indonesia from October 11 to 15, 2017 is a welcome development that Nigeria and also a lot of businessmen in the nation would benefit from.

Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Nigeria, Mr. Harry Purwanto

Indonesia’s determination to strengthen economic ties with Nigeria was recently reinforced by the signing of a MoU. However, beyond this is the available opportunity to boost the economy. The ties coming up this time ahead of 32nd Trade Expo in Indonesia from October 11 to 15, 2017 is a welcome development that Nigeria and also a lot of businessmen in the nation would benefit from.

As if to remove every ambiguity with regard to the readiness and seriousness of Indonesia’s government to do business with Nigeria, the Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Nigeria, Mr. Harry Purwanto, who graced the event said there could be no better time than now for the two countries to take advantage of common natural resources prevalent in both countries and partner together, explore opportunities in various business sectors for the benefit of the citizens of Nigeria and Indonesia.

Purwanto who was optimistic that the memorable event would no doubt yield good result in terms of mutual beneficial relationship between the two countries, remarked: “For the fact that Nigeria and Indonesia have so many things in common, we can both harness our activities and initiatives together to transform our relationship that would bring about mutual progress and prosperity for our people.”

The ambassador noted that Nigeria, as one of the countries that stand out in the continent when it comes to business relations with Indonesia, was glad that Nigeria accommodates a lot of Indonesia companies while his nation exports some notable commodities to Nigeria in turn, adding that Nigeria as a country has been favourably benefitting from Indonesia.

He, however, said that more products were available to sell to Nigeria and the fact that Indonesia as a world recognized investor was aiming at investing heavily in Nigeria.

“By virtue of Indonesia development, opportunities abound for countries and businessmen from various nations to invest in small and big projects in various parts of Indonesia where investments would unequivocally attract positive returns in terms of profitability,” he said.

The notable event tagged: “Nigeria-Indonesia Business Forum 2017” was officially declared open at Intercontinental hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos by the Indonesia Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Retno Marsudi who was in Nigeria for the first time.

To lend credence to Indonesia’s initiative to boost Nigeria economy, Marsudi was accompanied on her maiden business trip to Nigeria by delegation from her country’s business sector, Indonesia Exim Bank as well as officials and captains of industries. Foreign guests at the event also include, representatives from Ghana and Togo.

On the Nigeria side were President of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (NACIMA), Mrs. Iyalode Lawson, Acting Director-General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Yetunde Oni, representatives from Ministry of Transport, Executive Secretary, Nigerian-Indonesian Commercial Association (NECA), Dr. Elvis C. Onyeukwu, Chief Executive Officer, Conduit Communications Limited, Victor Gotevbe among others.

In her opening address, Marsudi said that Indonesia and Nigeria established a bilateral relationship since 1965, which has been growing from strength to strength, adding that the two countries with a lot of things in common, have the potential to thrive in the business sector.

She described Indonesia as the largest and most dynamic economy in South-East Asia with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $861b, growing at 5 per cent, which is not too far from Nigeria 182 million population’s GDP.

She, however, lamented the gradual decline in bilateral trade between the two countries by virtue of available records. “Our bilateral trade consists of $3.18b which has dropped to $1.159b, a shortfall of fifty percent. The figures are traceable to the years 2012 through to 2016 with the reduction of 19.9 per cent annually for the past five years,” she said.

She challenged the two countries economists to co-operate and work closer with one another with a view to benefitting from long term potentials that are available for the two countries as it has become obvious that the two countries need to transform their economic and political relations into one that is mutually beneficial for the two countries’ citizens.

She further remarked that there was no doubt that Indonesia and Nigeria could effectively work together as her country like Nigeria is made up of pluralistic society with more than 300 different ethnic groups and divergent religions.

“Our country has one of the largest population in the world with tradition of tolerance and understanding. Hence, we uphold the motto: “Unity in Diversity”, she said.

She disclosed that in 2015, Indonesia companies ranked 16th with the average economy term standing at 5.7% for the past 10 years, which remains the highest in G20 countries.

“Indonesia population is 257 million while 64 per cent of the population is productive age as well as formative economic middle class. “Trade has been an important element in Indonesia with 42 per cent of the country’s GDP coming from import and export,” she said.

Marsudi also revealed that Indonesia has been enjoying investment growth of 6.8 per cent in the last five years while economists in 2016 ranked Indonesia as part of the top three most attractive investment destination.

She also remarked that Indonesia economy has been more efficient, open, competitive and business friendly with infrastructural development as a major focus.

The envoy disclosed that Indonesia has just issued 14 economic packages, making it easy for businessmen and investors to thrive, which Nigeria too stands to benefit.

“We have developed one software service solution to simplify investment process, shortening the time required to only three hours and our country has continued on accelerated development on our airports, railway as well as power generation.

“All these efforts are being recognized by the international community,” she said.

She noted that Africa with emphasis on Nigeria remains priority for Indonesia foreign policy with current exports of palm oil, pepper, salt, seasoning as well as technical products while importation include crude oil, cocoa, petroleum, gas, beans among others.

She disclosed that more than 250 Nigerians attended the last year Indonesia Trade Expo and more can benefit from this year’s Trade Expo coming up in October, adding that Indonesia Minister of Trade would be coming to Nigeria next month to throw more light on Nigeria-Indonesia business relations.

She asked Nigeria to look forward to Asia-Africa forum, coming up next year, aimed at providing a platform for Indonesia-Africa businessmen to meet and collaborate on mutually beneficial opportunities, emphasizing that Indonesia remains Nigeria’s good partner in business.

Director, Indonesia Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC), Mr. Nino Setiawan asked Nigerian businessmen to take advantage of the Indonesian trade expo holding in Jakarta in October to see Indonesia good quality products.

Iyalode Lawson said that Nigeria government has been focusing on diversification programme, apart from oil as the only major revenue, looking at agriculture and solid minerals with policies rolled out to back up same.

Lawson was grateful for the opportunities being given by Indonesian government, ensuring that the Federal government of Nigeria would open clear opportunity for the partnership to thrive, which has been buttressed by signing of a MoU.

“This gesture would no doubt open job opportunities for the two countries and NACIMA would continue to work with Federal Republic of Indonesia and the Indonesia Promotion Centre to ensure that the objective of this business forum is realized to the mutual benefits of our two countries” Lawson said.

Dr. Yetunde Oni also declared the preparedness of NAFDAC to open its door for Indonesia products without compromising on standard backed by law. Onyeukwu asked Nigerian businessmen to participate in the 32nd Trade Expo in Indonesia with a view to exploring business opportunities.

otevbe remarked that the forum unveiled myriads of information from top Indonesian government officials and business leaders, which would help Nigerians to explore joint venture opportunities with prospective buyers. He added that the 2017 Nigeria-Indonesia Business Forum also provided an opportunity for investors to update and bring businesses, create employment and boost the Nigerian economy.