By Franklin Alli
The bilateral agreements between Nigeria and Serbia have not been implemented since it was concluded in 2002. The Serbia Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Rifat Rondic, disclosed this during a meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye.
Rifcat revealed that Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) had concluded memorandum with Serbia Chamber of Commerce and stressed the need for both countries to finalize the bilateral agreement which had been concluded in January 2002.
The Ambassador urged the Minister to facilitate the ratification of the agreement by National Assembly, and also to extend invitation to visit Serbia for the conclusion of the agreement as this will prepare a solid ground for future cooperation between the two countries.
Responding, Kuye pointed out that Nigeria was desirous of strengthening trade and investment relation with the Republic of Serbia.
The Minister, therefore, proposed for the establishment of Nigeria – Serbia chamber of Commerce, which he said should be proactive and be able to liaise with all departments of government in order to ensure that the desire of Serbians to invest in Nigeria becomes a reality.
The Minister reiterated that the agreement on Trade and Investment Promotions as well as Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement must be signed and put into practice. He said, since we have such plan what is important was to give nod to it and take it from the level of near agreement signed on paper to something we can actually put on ground and implement.
In his words “My Ministry will support Serbian businessmen who want to invest in Nigeria and will cooperate with Chamber of commerce of both countries”. Senator Kuye noted that Serbia and Nigeria have had long, stable and friendly economic and investment relationship dating back to Independence and both countries are members of non- aligned nations.
Meanwhile, according to Eurostat data, with a GDP for 2010 estimated at $80.602 billion or $10,897 per capita (PPP), Serbia is an upper-middle income economy.
Foreign Direct Investment in 2006 was $5.85 billion or €4.5 billion. FDI for 2007 reached $4.2 Billion while real GDP per capita figures are estimated to have reached $6,781 in April 2009.
The GDP growth rate showed increase by 6.3 percent in 2005, 5.8 percent in 2006, reaching 7.5 percent in 2007 and 8.7 percent in 2008 as the fastest growing economy in the region.
Blue-chip corporations investing in Serbia include: US Steel, Philip Morris, Microsoft, Fiat, Coca-Cola, Lafarge, Siemens, Carlsberg and others.