By Victoria Ojeme
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) has placed Japan at number 5 among the top foreign investors in Nigeria, the Nigerian Embassy in Tokyo said.
The Charge d’Affaires of the Nigerian Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, Dr. Tope Adeleye Elias-Fatile revealed this in a statement issued to mark Nigeria’s 60th anniversary.
He said: “Despite the current challenges, we still have good news and reason to celebrate. After the successes of the events in 2019, we were registering steady improvements in trade and economic relations between both countries before the Covid-19 outbreak. The indicators include the increase in the number of Japanese companies in Nigeria from 32 in 2017 to 43 today. “
The companies are dedicated to different sectors of the economy, which include generation, transmission and distribution of energy, agriculture, machinery, automobile, manufacturing, engineering, electronics, infrastructure, food and condiments, health, among others.
According to Elias-Fatile, “The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) recognizes that Japan is the fifth largest foreign investor in Nigeria today. Japan is among the top 10 investors in services in Nigeria, among the top 10 investors in solid minerals, the fifth investor in oil refining and the fifth investor in real estate. Similarly, Japan is among Nigeria’s top 20 import partners and Nigeria’s top 20 export partners. Japan is one of the 20 countries identified by the Commission as strategically important to Nigeria for investment promotion ”.
He explained that Nigeria benefits from the export of various products to Japan, in particular agricultural products and petroleum products. The import volume of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Nigeria to Japan has been increasing.
The Nigerian envoy in Japan said that “since April 2019, there has been a significant increase in applications for business and tourism visas to Nigeria.”
“Following the first edition of the Seminar for Japanese Companies and Industry Captains, the Business Networking Session for Japanese Entrepreneurs and Their Nigerian Counterparts on the Sidelines of the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VII) in Yokohama, as well as others – Activities organized by the Embassy last year, the Japanese business community developed a renewed interest in Nigeria. Visa applications for Nigeria increased significantly afterwards.
“Although we have not been able to substantially take advantage of the gains made in 2019, the Embassy is not intimidated. We believe that Nigeria and Japan will overcome Covid-19 and emerge stronger from this challenging period. Therefore, we look forward with great optimism to update the initiatives we have in our portfolio and to consolidate the achievements we registered in 2019/20.
“As soon as the situation begins to normalize, we will take steps to continue relations between Nigeria and Japan with vigor and determination, through firm commitments in economic and commercial activities. We will continue to strengthen the networks of commercial and economic activities between relevant actors and stakeholders in both countries. We will initiate, encourage and support new ideas to expand the scope of trade and economic activities between the two countries.
“I urge all Nigerians residing in Japan to continue to serve as good ambassadors for our country and to deepen their partnership and collaboration with the Embassy in advancing Nigerian-Japanese relations. The Embassy remains firmly committed to this goal as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of our country’s independence and 60 years of Nigerian-Japanese relations, ”said Ambassador Elias-Fatile.