The Federal Government says the approval of the Nigeria-Saudi Arabia Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NSCCIMA), will increase trade volume between both countries and reduce trust deficit.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said this on Thursday in Abuja, when the President of the Chamber, Alhaji Ibrahim Usman paid him a courtesy visit.
Usman presented a copy of the Certificate of Registration of the Chamber to the minister.
Mohammed hailed the registration of the Chambers after 11 years, adding that it would improve the volume of trade between both countries, currently put at about five million dollars.
He said the Chamber will also become a clearing house for businesses and investments, thereby, reducing trust deficit between business men from both countries.
According to the minister, the Chambers is the beginning of a new relationship between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, though both countries have cordial relations.
“It will change the narrative that relationship between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia is from the narrow perspective of religion and pilgrimage.
“It will create a bridge for better cooperations between the two important nation’s in the areas of petroleum industry, cottage industry, IT, Power, and creative industry.
“It is, therefore, not a coincidence that Nigeria will soon be receiving 60 inter-ministerial delegation from Saudi Arabia,” he said.
The minister charged Nigerian business community to take the opportunity of the Chamber to increase the trade volume between both countries.
He also corrected the erroneous impression that non-Moslem cannot invest in Saudi Arabia, saying that America is Saudi’s biggest trading partner.
The minister thanked the president of the Chamber for his vision and resilience.
Earlier, the president of the Chamber said in spite the large number of Nigerians flooding Saudi for Umrah and Hajj, the official volume of trade between both oil rich countries was at least disappointing.
He said Nigerians had not taken the advantage of Saudi magnanimity by creating excellent windows of assistance through bilateral cooperations.
“For instance, whereas 46 countries including Egypt, Pakistan, Sudan , Kenya, Ghana have been enjoying billions of dollars in soft loans and trade related soft term facilities under the Saudi Export Programme, no single dollar of facility was advanced to any business in Nigeria.”
He said that Nigeria had a lot to learn from Saudi Arabia which has over the years built fantastic industrial estates in all their key cities.
Usman also corroborated the minister that religion would not be a barrier to investors because Saudi Arabia was opening up its immigration and economic policies based on its 2030 Vision
He said Saudi recently opened its visa policy to investors and visitors entering any part of the country, except Mecca and Medina.
Usman said such visitors and investors irrespective of their religion, would be given visa on arrival, if they have a valid U.S. or UK visa. (NAN)