Nigeria, Russia to Strengthen Bi-lateral Ties

Nigeria and Russia have stepped up efforts to boost their economic and bi-lateral ties, which had been at low levels in recent times.
Trade volumes on either side is said to be currently worth only about $300 million.
But speaking to journalists in Abuja in readiness for the first Nigeria-Russia Business and Investment Forum, which will take place in Moscow between October 9 and 10, the Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Nikolay Udovichenko blamed the low level of bi-lateral trade on the consequence of lack of communication between both countries.
He said: “We don’t know about each other very well. Sometimes, the Russian companies try to sell their products in Nigeria through other countries; European countries, for example. So, if we establish bi-lateral connections it would be better for various reasons.”
Continuing, he said: “I think we need to build bridges between our nations, not because we want to build but to bring our nations closer together.”
He said Russia and Nigeria had long historical path to warrant sharing experience and achievements, adding that this would be helpful for both countries.
Also speaking at the briefing, Nigerian Ambassador to Russia, Mr. Assam Assam bemoaned the low level of trade ties but assured that the upcoming forum would significantly improve the situation.
He said, “The trade volume is nothing to write home about and that is why we are rather very anxious about this Business and Investment Forum.
“We want Nigerian businessmen to go to Russia and see why they are making money from oil and gas as intermediate businessmen in the middle class and Nigeria is not; how the Russian society comes to have an almost full employment and Nigeria is not; how they built their industry on trust and confidence and reliance on the system and Nigeria is not doing that-we should be able to learn from them.”
Assam said: “We have a lot to learn from the Russian society: their business, culture among others. I believe that it is important that this class of Nigerians go to Moscow, try to attract relationships; try to attract business: we need Russian companies to invest in Nigeria but we have not done enough in that regard.”
He said he was certain that with quality interaction, on a regular basis, including visitations, Nigeria’s relationship with Russia in terms of the economy would be greatly enhanced.
He said: “I have the assurances of the Russian government that Nigerians will have the advantage of being exposed to in-depth information on whatever form of business they are interested in.”
The forum is specifically aimed at opening up new vistas of economic collaboration between both countries even as they celebrate 50 years of socio-economic and political relations.