Nigeria, Germany trade hits N312b in 2008
THE German Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Technology, Mrs. Dagmar Wohrl, said the volume of trade between Nigeria and Germany in 2008 far exceeded 2 billion euros (N312 billion).
The secretary, who said this in Abuja at the Nigerian-German Investment Forum organised by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), said the figure represented the first eight months of 2008.
She described the partnership between both countries as a ``win-win'' situation as Germany basically imported natural gas from Nigeria and in exchange Germany ensured transfer of technology through the operations of its various companies.
Specifically, she said Germany was interested in co-operating with Nigeria in the area of renewable energy such as solar energy to help address Nigeria's power and electricity challenges.
``We have a unique partnership to further develop the economies of both countries and Nigeria being the largest market in Africa has a lot of untapped potential that both countries can benefit from,'' Wohrl said.
The Executive Secretary of NIPC, Alhaji Mustafa Bello, had earlier invited Germany investors into solid mineral sector, saying that Nigeria has 34 solid mineral deposits in commercial quantities.
Bello also called for investment in the country's industrial parks that would soon be established in the six geopolitical zones in the country.
According to him, the parks will have special incentives such as zero per cent import duty, VAT-Free and 100 per cent ownership.
``We are also proposing to government to allow a five-year tax holiday for investors to enable them to benefit from these industrial parks,'' he said.
A German investor, Mrs Bianca Buchman, who is the president of a 600-member German Business Council, urged the Nigerian government to address the problem of expatriate quota.
She said the inability of most German business people to get or renew their expatriate quota had been a major impediment to business transactions with Nigeria.
Buchman also urged the NIPC to assist some German companies to get the money owed them for contracts done some years ago, saying because of the lack of payments their accounting books were still open.
``This is an impediment to business, we want to be paid so that these books can be closed and this will further improve our relationships,'' Buchman, who is into hospital resource business, said.
A Nigerian investor, Mr. Lanre Kolade, the managing director of Baymat Energy, urged the Germany to go beyond just importing the country's crude oil and gas to establishing banks in the country.
``We want German banks to establish their presence in this country so that operators in industrial and energy sectors will benefit from them,'' he said.
NAN reports that German President Horst Kohler was in the country for the 4th Session of Partnership with Africa, an initiative of the German government, with three African countries participating.
The participating African countries were Rwanda, Burkina Fasso and Nigeria.