The Nigerian Embassy in Moscow, Russia, said it has concluded plans to host an investment forum focused mainly on energy for the business community in Russia.
The investment forum is meant to boost trade relations between the two countries, which is said to be very low.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to Russia, Chief Asang E. Asang, who disclosed this in Russia, at an investment dinner organised by the Nigerian National Committee, NNC, to the just-concluded 21st World Petroleum Congress, WPC, in Moscow, said the forum is scheduled to hold on August 1, 2014.
Asang said, “On August 1, the Nigerian Embassy will host the Russian community to an investment forum. The focus of the forum will be on Energy and hydrocarbon distillation.”
He added that the forum, which will have in attendance about 50 Nigerian investors, will be declared open by Nigeria’s First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, who will also use the forum to push her pet project for caring for the under-privileged.
The envoy reassured of Federal Government’s support for any Russian genuine and legal investment, adding that Nigeria remains “one of the best countries in the world to do business because of guaranteed return on investment.”
Speaking on the sidelines of the dinner held at the Radisson Royal Hotel, Moscow, Asang told journalists that the reason for the low trading relations between Nigeria and Russia is attributable to the fact that there were no trade routes before now.
According to him, “we literally had no serious trade relations between Nigeria and Russia because we had no relationships, no colony, and no trade so we did not inherit anything from them.”
Besides, he noted that Nigeria had almost similar experiences with Russia, saying, “Everything Nigeria has, Russia too has like petroleum, also, Nigeria has a population of 160 million, Russia has 150 million. While Nigeria has low technology, Russia has high technology.”
Against this backdrop, the Ambassador said Nigeria was trying to change the trend with the investment forum, noting that hitherto, Nigeria had always looked Westward for its trade, but now looking Eastward to countries like Russia.
With regard to Russia’s investments in Nigeria, particularly with the agreement with Gazprom to lay one of Africa’s longest gas pipeline in Nigeria and the development at the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, Asang defended that these investments were still on.
First, he noted that the issue with Gazprom has to do with change of political leadership, saying, “You know it is not easy to carry over projects from one government to another in Nigeria. But the present administration is committed to the development of our gas resources and will maximize every avenue for doing so.”
Regarding the Ajaokuta Steel, the Ambassador further noted that the Complex is not a Russia legacy, as often erroneously believed, but a Ukranian one, under the former Soviet Union. “But now, the project is being revitalised and in very high gear,” he added.