By Vera Samuel Anyagafu & Prisca Sam-Duru
THE Ambassador of Finland to Nigeria, Pirjo Soumela-Chowdhury, has asked Nigeria to reduce dependency on oil, explaining that the drive to diversify the economy is what every country, including Nigeria has to look towards to.
Pirjo said this at the just concluded business networking meeting to ensure progressive trade promotions between both countries business individuals. According to her, the most central focus of Finland work is promoting trade and economic relations and the idea behind the business networking meeting is to explore potentials of both countries and note areas they can invest in for upward economic growth.
“The whole drive to diversify the economy is what everybody including the government of Nigeria is trying to do. Of course it is a great thing to reduce dependency on oil. Even though Nigeria is in a difficult situation at the moment because of the fall in oil price, I think you can also take it in a positive way, in a way as incentive to diversify. This is important especially when you want to create jobs for the young population.
This is the way to go, it is a commendable goal” Ambassador Pirjo said.
Era of diversification in Nigeria: Similarly, the country’s Honourary Consul, Mr. Kingsley Akinloye, who expressed fulfillment with the continuous business networking between the two countries business communities, also pointed out that promoting businesses in partnership with Nigeria is moving well ahead. He told Vanguard that it is a great opportunity for both countries businesses, saying that this first quarter business networking are mostly centered on ICT connectivity, banking industries, security, and housing, including, energy, oil and infrastructure.
He said, “This is bilateral, nobody has the knowledge or capacity, it is a question of how you place and see yourself. Nigeria and Finland are only trying to enhance each other’s potentiality. Nigeria has a lot to benefit from Finland and vice versa. We need to tap from each other’s potentials and work on it. It is good that Finland is ready, and having related with Finland for more than 30 years, I know all about them and I believe I know much about how both countries can work together in promoting trade. This is era of diversification in Nigeria so we are here to see how we can partner together to develop further.”
Finland not resource bound country: Finland’s Trade Commissioner for West Africa, Mr. Olu Raheem, said that the mindset for Finns come naturally because it is not a resource bound country. He said that Finland had to develop mainly through technology to be able to provide something so innovative that other countries want.
Olu further submitted that Finland has no oil or metals, that theirs have always been technology and how to make investment goods, saying that the delegation from Finland this time around is mainly ICT delegation, for fact that everything now world over, even here in Nigeria is ICT bound, so it is all about helping people to do things better in a cheaper manner.
“If you look at Finland’s history in technology, with emergence of Nokia which brought about the GSM standard, it is because of this that Nigerians are able to use GSM so we were already a part of Finland story.
So we decided to bring the Finnish people here, to bring the ideas and innovations closer and to understand the Nigeria business environment and how they can tailor their products and services to help Nigeria’s business people to move further”, Olu stated, adding that, “I have no doubt that Nigeria will diversify their economy, we define countries by what they have but I think Nigeria’s greatest resource is the people. You know tough times usually bring people together. Nigerians everywhere in the world excel, so there is no reason why they should not excel in their country. Finland has less people, and Nigeria has a lot of people, so the opportunities are here for us to use technology to do things.
“If European countries have as much as Nigeria has, they would be forever independent from any country in the world.