Nigeria and the Republic of Indonesia are to deepen bilateral relations especially in the areas of sharing information on National planning and development as well as trade and investment.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma made this indication in Abuja on Friday when he received the Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Harry Purwanto.
Udoma and Purwanto had discussed areas of commonalities between their two countries, and agreed that a more profound bilateral relationship would be beneficial to both countries, especially on a technical level.
In a statement signed by Akpandem James, media adviser to the minister, Udoma said Nigeria values its relationship with Indonesia and feels aligned with it because apart from both countries belonging to the South South Cooperation, there is so much linking them, including natural resources like oil and gas, colourful culture and tradition as well as similarities in terms of challenges.
He told the Ambassador that the drive of the Indonesian Government to invest in various sectors of the Nigerian economy is much appreciated because it is coming at a time Nigeria is seeking to grow its economy along a diversified, sustainable and inclusive path.
Furthermore, he informed that both countries have a lot to learn and benefit from each other, given their experiences and Nigeria appreciates the investments already made by Indonesians companies and would welcome more, including the desire to establish oil palm plantations and processing mills and the possibility of manufacturing small-aircraft in Nigeria.
Referring specifically to the desire of the Asian country to expand its rice programme at home, as it works towards self-sufficiency, Senator Udoma said Nigeria is embarking on a similar programme, and would benefit from experience sharing.
Speaking earlier, Purwanto told the Minister that initial Indonesian investments in Nigeria have proved very successful, and his country is committed to deepening trade and investment relations with Nigeria for the mutual benefit of the two countries.
He said 18% of its crude oil import is from Nigeria but would like more of Nigeria’s support in the area of oil palm cultivation and refining as investors from his country are interested not only in establishing oil palm plantations but building refineries for processing of palm oil.
He said just like the neighbouring Malaysia, Indonesia got its first set of palm fruits from Nigeria, and would like to continue doing business with Nigeria on a larger scale, including investments, experience sharing and capacity building.
The visit according to him was a follow-up to an earlier visit to Nigeria by both his country’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministers whose missions were to strengthen trade relations as well explore further areas of cooperation with Nigeria.
The Ambassador also recalled a recent visit to Indonesia by Nigeria’s Science and Technology Minister to discuss the possibility of setting up a small aircraft manufacturing plant in Nigeria and said the Indonesian government is well disposed to the project and would further encourage the Indonesian business community to see more business potentials in Nigeria.
Purwanto said Indonesia shared many things in common with Nigeria pointing out that the country’s population is about 260 million people spread across about 350 ethnic groups and speaking about 700 dialects. A flight across Indonesia will take six and half hours, he added.
SEYI ANJORIN, Abuja