Nigeria, India restate commitment to bilateral relations

Helen Shok  Jok, Abuja

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Nigeria and India have emphasized the importance of maintaining the already cordial bi-lateral relations existing between them.

The two countries made the commitment in Abuja Nigeria when the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige received in audience, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Abhay Thakur and his entourage.

Senator Ngige  said that Nigeria has an existing robust relationship with India in terms of trade, education, labour and foreign affairs  among others adding that both countries have reciprocally discharged their responsibilities to each other.

The Minister called on the Indian Government to protect Nigerians working in India by issuing them relevant work permits with ease of doing business in India.

“As we all know, there are few Nigerians that are in India that are also doing their own businesses there.

“A lot of Nigerian investors have set up their industries there and likewise some Indians have set up theirs here also.

“We have protected Indians working here, given them work permits and also open up the ease of the business with them because they are good entrepreneurs and have employed hundreds of Nigerians in India.

“So, it is incumbent on us to give protection to all those in Nigeria and we hope this will also continue in India,’’ Ngige said.

He also called on the India government to key fully into the local content capacity programme in the country, saying:“There is nothing you need here as an industrialist that is not available including raw materials.”

The Minister added that labour is cheaper in Nigeria than in India, saying that once the India entrepreneurs’ key into creating jobs in Nigeria; they also stand to make their own profit.

Ngige, therefore, said this was a formidable way to fight unemployment and create more jobs for the teeming youths.

‘‘We appeal to you to create employment to the Nigerians in India. I am asking for your cooperation with your government to help us equip our labour content all over the country.

“We want you to help us establish more refineries, so that you will also make your profit. We also urge you to key into our certificate programme,’’ he said.

The Minister also called for the resuscitation of labour capacity building between the two countries which was stopped in 2013.

He noted that the exchange programme had been very educative as a lot of Nigerian labour officers were trained in the India Labour Institute as part of technical assistance to Nigeria by the India government.

“We want that programme to be resuscitated and we will appreciate so that we will get staff up to date,’’ he said.

Earlier, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Abhay Thakur, commended the Nigerian government for providing an enabling working environment for Indians to conduct their businesses in the country.

Mr Abhay Thakur, also praised the Federal Government for its robust bilateral relations with his country.

Thakur assured the Federal Government that the India government would do its best to foster the existing relationship between them.

He said that India looked forward to training Nigerians in the Indian Labour Institutes, as well as maximising the use of local content or services in running their businesses in Nigeria.

The High Commissioner mentioned that India was looking at the possibilities of having a direct flight from Nigeria to India.

Omolayo.A