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India - Nigeria Bilateral Trade and Economic Relations

1. Relations between Nigeria and India are warm and friendly, without any contentious issues. India established a diplomatic mission in Nigeria in 1958, even before Nigeria became independent in 1960. Both countries have similar demographic and socio-economic profile and share similar challenges. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s visit to Nigeria in September 1962 laid the foundation for close political and economic relations between the two countries followed by Nigerian Presidents Shehu Shagari in January 1983 and Gen. Sani Abacha in 1994. Nigeria is the 15th top trading partner of India during 2015-16 with US$12.17 billion bilateral trade.

2. Nigerian Economy: Nigerian economy has entered into recession for the first time in over the last three decades, as it recorded negative growth rate of 2.06% in the second Quarter of 2016. With contraction in two consecutive Quarters (First and Second Quarter|), Nigerian economy has officially slipped into recession. In the first Quarter, economy had contracted by 0.36%. Inflation has also increased to 17.1% in July 2016. Earlier, it had maintained a sustained economic growth of around 7% during 2004-14. Nigerian economy grew by 6.3% in 2014. However, the growth rate was slumped to 2.7% in 2015, which is the weakest level of growth for Nigeria since 1999. The slump is due to declining oil prices adversely impacted Nigerian growth as the country relies on crude export for two-thirds of its revenue.

3. In the light of the recent macroeconomic challenges, the government has adopted an adjustment strategy that hinges on tightening government spending and shoring up non-oil revenues to compensate for dwindling oil revenues. With rebasing of its economy in April, 2014, Nigeria emerged as the largest economy of Africa with GDP of US $ 510 billion. Following the significant devaluation of the Niara, it has now conceded the place as the largest economy in Africa to South Africa.

4. Bilateral Trade & Economic Relations: Indo-Nigerian relations gained momentum with the State Visit of President Olusegun Obasanjo to India in January 1999 as Chief Guest at the 50th Republic Day celebrations and the visit of Shri Jaswant Singh, EAM to Nigeria in March 2000 to co-chair the Third Session of India-Nigeria Joint Commission. In May 2003, the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry visited Lagos to Chair the Conference of Commercial Representatives of Western Sub-Saharan Africa. The Nigerian Foreign Minister, Mr. Oluyemi Adeniji, visited India from October 28-30, 2003 to co-chair the Fourth Session of the Joint Commission.

5. Former Prime Minister, Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, visited Nigeria in December 2003 to participate in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM-2003). Former President Obasanjo paid a working visit to New Delhi on November 3, 2004 and held discussions with the Prime Minister, particularly on strengthening cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector.

6. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh paid an official visit to Nigeria from October 14-16, 2007. This historic visit took place in the 50th year of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. During the visit, an Abuja Declaration on Strategic Partnership was issued which elevated the bilateral relations to a much higher level while laying out the future contours of the bilateral relations. During the visit of the Prime Minister, a line of credit of US$ 100 mn was announced to be used in agriculture, agro processing and infrastructure related projects. In addition, earlier EXIM Bank had offered US$ 5 mn credit facility to NEXIM for trade financing and promoting bilateral trade.

7. PM’s visit was followed by the visit of Vice President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and several ministerial and business delegations to invite Indian investors to look at opportunities in Nigeria. The Vice President again visited India in November 2007 for the ‘India-Africa Hydrocarbon Summit’ and met companies in the oil and gas sector. He visited India again in April 2008 for ‘India-Africa Forum Summit’. In January 2010, Shri Anand Sharma, Commerce Minister, led a 120 member FICCI delegation to Lagos, Nigeria. Soon thereafter, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Shri Murli Deora visited Nigeria and held discussions with his counterpart.

8. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga accompanied by a high-level business delegation visited India in September, 2014.

9. Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Hon'ble MoS (IC) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, visited Abuja on 28-29 May 2015 to represent Government of India at the inauguration ceremony of Nigerian President-elect Muhammadu Buhari. During his brief visit, the Hon’ble Minister called on President-elect Buhari after attending the inauguration ceremony held on 29 May 2015.

10. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) visited New Delhi, India for the India-Africa Summit-III from 26-30 October 2015. During his visit, President Buhari met with Hon’ble Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. He was accompanied by a 121-member delegation consisting of Governors of Kano State, Mr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and Delta State, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa; National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd); besides Permanent Secretaries in the Ministries of Defence, Power, Communications Technology, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs and Industry, Trade & Investment. President Buhari’s visit to India was given wide coverage by Nigerian Print and electronic media.

During the bilateral discussion with Hon’ble PM, President Buhai said that India, after overtaking US, was now one of the biggest importers of crude oil from Nigeria and discussed on cooperation in Hydrocarbon area. He also recalled his stint as Army Cadet in India in 1973.

11. Group Executive Director (Finance) Mr. Isiaka Abdulrazzak, Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC) participated in the 4th edition of India-Africa Hydrocarbon Conference held in New Delhi on Jan 21-22, 2016.

12. The Nigerian delegation led by Federal Industry, Trade and Investment Minister Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah participated in the 11th CII EXIM Bank Conclave on India Africa Project Partnership held in New Delhi on 14 -15 March, 2016. According to CII, the Conclave drew the participation of 23 Ministers from Africa, over 500 delegates from Africa and around 500 delegates from India. Close to 500 B2B meetings were held during the course of the conclave. A need for deeper bilateral cooperation for sustainable development, covering areas like clean technology, solar energy, and climate-resilient agriculture was also underlined. With regard to implementation of projects launched by India in Africa, setting up an international coordination mechanism to ensure seamless and timely implementation of projects had been called for.

13. A six-member delegation led by Nigerian Federal Minister of State for Health visited India at the invitation of our Minister of Health & Family Welfare Shri Jagat Prakahs Nadda to participate in the India-Africa Health Sciences Meet held in New Delhi on 1-3 September, 2016.

14. India Show: The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in association with the High Commission of India and supported by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, GOI, organised “The India Show,” in Lagos on August 25-27, 2015. The event with the theme “Enhancing Trade and Investment between Indian and Nigeria” was inaugurated on 25 August 2015 by High Commissioner along with the Deputy Governor of Lagos state Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule and Deputy Governor of Benue state, Mr Benson Abounu. Over 250 representatives of 100 Indian companies participated in the event showcasing their products looking for trade and investment opportunities in Nigeria.

15. Opening of Nigeria Chapter by ASSOCHEM: The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry, a national Apex Chamber (ASSOCHAM) with its Headquarters in New Delhi, India, opened its Nigeria Chapter 'India-Nigeria Business Promotion Council' at Hotel Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, Nigeria on June 28, 2016. The Event was launched by His Excellency, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister for Industry, Trade & Investment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

16. The India Aftermarket Auto Show: India Aftermarket Show organised by Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) in association with Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India and High Commission of India, Nigeria, was held in Eko Hotels and Suites on 18 July, 2016. The inaugural Event had a gathering of about 100 persons comprising representatives/owners of Nigerian automotive industry, media, members of the Indian business community based in Lagos and India. 11 prominent Indian automotive companies registered with ACMA displayed their automotive products at the Event. During the day, representatives/owners of 62 Nigerian automotive companies had B2B meetings with the 11 Indian automotive companies.

17. Historically, Indian presence in Nigeria was essentially economic and began with textiles and trading sectors, but got constantly diversified. With a population of about 180 million and considerable revenue from oil exports, Nigeria is the largest trading partner of India in Africa. Indian companies have sizeable investments in textiles, chemicals, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, plastics, fishing, power transmission lines etc.

18. The bilateral trade during the year 2015-16 declined by 25% to US$12.17 billion as against US$16.36 billion recorded during the year 2014-15. Reasons for the decline are given belo:

India’s exports :

1. After a steady increase of India’s exports to Nigeria for the past few years, the period April 2015 to March 2016 witnessed a 17% decline in our exports to Nigeria to US$2.22 billion from US$2.68 billion during the corresponding period in 2014-15. The decline is due to dwindling oil prices, fall of Naira, ongoing economic challenges, etc.

India’s imports:

1. India’s imports from Nigeria form a large part of crude and petroleum products. India is the largest importer of Nigeria petroleum products. In recent years, Nigeria has been one of the main sources of crude for India. Nigeria is highly important for our energy security matters as we import around 12% of our crude requirements from Nigeria.

2. India’s imports have significantly declined by 27% to US$9.94 billion during the period 2015-16 as against US$13.68 billion registered during the period 2014-15 due to fall of crude oil prices.

India-Nigeria Bilateral Trade Statistics since 2010-11 are given below

Value in US $ million

2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
India’s Export 2259.09 (+60%) 2700.23 (+29%) 2738 (+1.5%) 2667.83 (-2.6%) 2681.36 (+) 2222.0 (-17%)
Indian’s Import 10787.72 (+48%) 14622.6 (+36%) 13826 (-5.9%) 14098.4 (+3.5%) 13682.72 (-2%) 9949.16 (-27%)

19. The first Indian company, viz. K. Chellaram Company was set up in Nigeria in 1923. The Chanrai family is one of the most successful and respected business houses in Nigeria. The family has businesses in the areas of trade, manufacturing, agriculture and finance. The family employs about 30000 people in Nigeria and is one of the largest employer of local staff among the private sector in Nigeria. As part of their corporate responsibility initiatives, one of the arms of the Chanrai family set up a foundation in 1994 called Tulsi Chanrai Foundation (TCF), which presently employs 20 Indian expatriates and 200 local staff. TCF has been accorded the status of International NGO by Got. of Nigeria. TCF and its donor partners presently have three programmes operating in Nigeria viz Mission for Primary Health Care, Mission for Eye Care and Mission for Water.

20. Today, the generic “Indian” presence in Nigerian economy can be divided into following two distinct and largely mutually exclusive categories:

(a) India-based Companies :

» Leveraging similarity of economic conditions and large size of the market, over 100 Indian-owned and/or operated companies have their presence in Nigeria. While majority of them are in the trading business, a few prominent among the Indian companies who have invested in Nigeria are Bharti Airtel, Tata, Bajaj Auto, Kewalram Group, Bhojwani Brothers Nig. Ltd., Bhoj sons & Co. Nig.Plc, Birla Cement ( in the name of New Chline), Ranbaxy, PARCO Indian Group, Anand Dairy Farming, NIPCO, African Industries Group, Shapoorji Pallonji, Jawa International Limited, Godrej Nigeria Limited, Dabur, Essar Group, New India Assurance, State Bank of India (having 8.6% share in Sterling Bank), Skipper T&D Corp, Stallion Group, Churchgate Group, Enkay Indo-Nigeria Ltd., Dr. Hassan’s Hospital, Pearl International, Primus Super-speciality Hospital, Vedic Life Healthcare, NIIT Nigeria Ltd., APTECH Software Technology Park Ltd., Srei Infrastructure, etc.

Indian professionals are playing a key role in both social and business development of Nigeria by bringing their expertise and knowledge in various sectors particularly Telecommunications, Banking, Pharmaceutical, Manufacturing, Automobile.

Telecom . India’s Bharati Airtel acquired Zain Africa’s assets in 16 sub-Saharan countries, including Nigeria for $ 10.7 bn. in July 2010. Airtel has 3500 towers in Africa. Bharti Airtel currently operates in 20 countries across Asia and Africa and has over 300 million subscribers. In Nigeria, Airtel controls 22 per cent market share and enjoys the services of 32.2 mn subscribers.

Healthcare: Over past two years, there has been a spurt in Nigerian patients going to India for treatment. On an average 15000 medical visas are issued per year to Nigerians. Nigeria’s first super speciality hospital in Abuja set up by New Delhi based Primus Super Speciality Hospital, was inaugurated on December 10 2010, beginning with its OPD. In November 2009, Apollo Hospitals entered into an operational management services partnership with Lagos-based private healthcare group Hygeia. On October 2, visiting Indian Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Shri Salman Khursheed laid the foundation stone of Nigeria-India Friendship Hospital, Abuja to be constructed by Dr. Hassan‘s Hospital.

Power Sector : There are about 15 Indian companies engaged in Nigeria’s power sector- Generation, Transmission and Distribution as Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) contractors.

(b) PIO Companies : Prominent PIO groups in Nigeria are: Chanrai family (Agribusiness and automobiles), Dana (Pharma, steel, electronics, consumer goods, domestic airline), Chellarams (consumer goods, foodstuff, financial services, art), Keshwanis (Retailing and Construction) and Mehtanis’ Churchgate Group (Construction), DUFIL Prime Food Ltd., Indorama (Hqrs in Indonesia) Olam Nigeria Ltd promoted by Indian, but the Singaporean Government has majority shares], etc.

21. It is informally estimated that there would be around US$ 10 billion of investment by Indian companies in Nigeria. It is also widely believed even in the official circles that Indian-owned/managed industry is the 2nd largest employer of industrial manpower after the Federal Government.

22. India’s exports to Nigeria have been increasing steadily for the last few years. India remained Nigeria’s top export destination. Netherlands, Spain, UK and Brazil were the other major export destinations.

Main Export Sectors:

23. Indian pharmaceuticals are the largest player in Nigerian market supplying over a third of its total demand, which, in turn, is the largest market in African continent. These pharmaceuticals are imported in retail as well as bulk forms. Nearly 33 Indian or India-linked companies are active in importing or/and domestic manufacturing pharmaceutical products in Nigeria. They include Ranbaxy, Cadila, Emcure, etc. They have formed an association called IPMIN (Indian Pharmaceuticals’ Manufactures and Importers in Nigeria) to collectively defend their interests.

24. Bajaj Auto has created a niche for their motorcycles in Lagos where they are used as taxis. The company counts Nigeria as their largest market outside India for motorcycles and three wheelers and has already set up its second assembly line in Lagos. Other Indian two wheelers companies, such as TVS and Kinetic, are also active in Nigeria. With establishment of Tata - Africa Nigeria in early 2009, the company has begun offering its entire range of automotive products in Nigeria. Ashok Leyland and Mahindra are also marketing their products locally. Mahindra and Sonalika have set up assembling plants for their tractors in Nigeria.

25. On 10th May, 2016, Total Nigeria Plc signed an after-market partnership agreement with Tata Africa Services Nigeria Ltd. to supply high performance Total-branded lubricants as part of their agreement signed between Total and Tata motors in Mumbai in September 2015.

26. Indian exports have substantial presence in power generation and transmission equipment, automobiles (esp. two-wheelers) and steel sectors.

27. Hydrocarbon Sector: India has become the largest importer of Nigerian crude replacing USA in the recent times. Nigeria now providing 12% of our annual crude oil requirement. India had the top spot of Nigeria crude oil export with importation of 23 million barrels and 1.5 mb of other petroleum products, equivalent of 13% of Nigeria total export amounting to US$9.94 billion (2015-16). Thus, Nigeria is highly important from our energy security perspective. The IOCL signed the term contract with Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) on January 26, 2016 and the HPCL in early March, 2016. Sterling and Essar were the main Indian companies involved in oil exploration.

Indian Companies Supporting Nigerian O & G Companies:

» Dangote Group of Nigeria is active in development of an Oil Refinery as well as a Fertilizer plant. A number of Indian companies are associated in project management, construction and supply of other accessories for these two plants. Indian companies working/worked in the Dangote Oil Refiniry Project are : EIL, Fabtech, Indcon Projects, Patels Airtemp, Temasme, Phils Engg, Techno, Larsen & Toubro, Godrej, Vijay Tanks, ISGEC, Altech, Diamond Engineering, Bharat Bijlee, Thermax and Emmerson.

Indian companies working/worked in the Dangote Fertiliser Project are : Tata Consulting Engineers Ltd., Va Tech Wabag, Onshore Construction Company Ltd., Diamond Engineering, Larsen & Tubro, Godrej & Boyce, Emerson Process, Essar Heavy Engineering, Paharpur Cooling Towers Ltd., Virgo Valves & Controls, Oswal Industries, Isgec Heavy Engineering, Flow Service and STF Salvatore Trifone & Figli.

28. Development Cooperation:

EXIM Bank LOC : The GoI-supported Lines of Credit (LoCs) amounting to US$ 100 mn was extended to Nigeria during the visit of the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in October 2007. India’s EXIM Bank is now in the process of handing over US $ 60 million as the (LOC) for two projects viz. Kaduna – US$ 30 million for solar power, and Cross Rivers – US$ 30 million for transmission and electrification purposes. Based on the advice of DPA, MEA, the Enugu State has been requested to re-tender the project for the remainder of the LOC i.e. US$ 40 million which has been requested for a power sector project.

» India’s offer for Food Testing Laboratory under IAFS-II has been accepted by Nigeria. ICRISAT & NAFDAC are the lead Indian and Nigerian Agencies respectively for implementing the project.

Pan African e-Network Project . On February 26 2009, the inauguration of Pan African e-Network Project at TCIL, New Delhi by the then EAM, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, was attended by Prof. Dora Akunyili, Nigerian Minister of Information & Communication at the Learning Centre, University of Lagos. Telemedicine and e-Learning are both operational. University College Hospital, Ibadan Lagos University Teaching Hospital are both connected with their Indian counterparts.

29. NRI/PIO Community. Total Indian community in Nigeria is estimated to be around 40,000 persons. Out of these about 5000 are thought to be foreign passport holders. Majority of them live in Lagos. Abuja has around 800 Indian expats. In general, Indians are well off and enjoy non-controversial existence in Nigeria. However, like other expatriates, they also suffer from insecurity and crime. The community runs a CBSE affiliated Indian Language School in Lagos with over 2500 students. It also has two temples in Lagos and a number of cultural and ethnic associations, most prominent of which is Indian Cultural Association, Lagos.

Sep 19, 2016