By Naomi Uzor
DataÂ presented by the Finnish business delegation on trade between Finland and Nigeria, showed that 80 per cent ofÂ Finnish exports to Nigeria,Â January-December 2009 were mainly machinery and transport equipment.
Speaking on Wednesday at a business seminar and networking luncheon organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Victoria Island, to explore opportunities and examine ways to further the development of bilateral economic relationship between Nigeria and Finland, The Vice President, stakeholder relations on trade policy, Mr Jukka Seppala, who led the Finnish business delegation of 16 companies, said 80 per cent of Finlandâ€™s exports to Nigeria consists of machinery, while 41 per cent of the main export product groups are power generating machinery, telecommunications equipment 30 per cent, and paper and paperboard 13 per cent.
The Minister for foreign trade and development of Finland, Dr Paavo Vayrynen, who came with theÂ delegation , said the Finnish business delegation represents various high technologies, ICT, infrastructure and construction, metal industry, financing, mining, recycling, healthcare and pulp and paper industry.
â€œWe donâ€™t have any natural resources in Finland, all we have is the green forest, our lakes are shallow, because of the hard condition in Finland, we have gone into technology. Nigeria is blessed with a lot of natural resources and we are here to introduce our technology to Nigeriaâ€ he said.
He urged Nigerian companies to take a closer look at Finland as an investment destination, as it is one of the best performing, transparent and most open economies in the world, adding that the high standard of education, environmental standards, high research and development investmentÂ and advanced information society have brought the Finnish private sector to the forefront in the adoption of new technologies and culture of innovation and that Nigerian companies could benefit from the Finnish experience through joint projects and cooperation.
â€œIn Finland, we have observed with great interest the strong economic growth in Nigeria in recent yearsÂ despite the effects of global economic crisis, Finnish businesses have great confidence in future opportunities in Nigeria.Â Finnish businesses consider Nigeria a very attractive market.
Nigeriaâ€™s robust economic growth, fast improving business environment, favourable geographical location and vast natural resources are major assets in the global economyâ€ he stated.The Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan while receiving the Finnish delegation on Tuesday at the State House, Abuja, urged the Finnish investors to establish factories and plants in Nigeria to boost technology and generate employment. Jonathan said Nokia, a Finnish company, which has massive patronage in Nigeria, should consider establishingÂ its phone factories in the country to generate employment and enhance home-grown technology.
He expressed the governmentâ€™s determination to tackle the energy challenges in the country. The acting president recalled leading a delegation of government and members of the Nigerian business community to Finland in May last year. He said the follow-up visit by the Finnish government and business delegation indicated Finlandâ€™s commitment to an improvement in trade relations with Nigeria.
Furthermore, he urged foreign investors to obtain all information on business from the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council, saying the council was saddled with the task of guiding investors. Earlier, Varynen had said that his country was interested in boosting trade and economic relations with Nigeria. He cited Finlandâ€™s areas of interest to include telecommunications, energy, mining and road construction.Â Varynen said his country was ready to assist Nigeria with technological expertise toward attaining its Vision 20:2020 goal