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Tinubu’s G-20 Engagements In India: Right Words, Right Meetings. But Nigeria Needs To Look Inwards, Away From India

The Oasis Reporters

September 11, 2023





Nigeria’s President Tinubu (left), Indian Prime Minister Modi.

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi @narendramodi met Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu, he called it a delight. “Our talks were fruitful and will surely add momentum to the strong relations between India and Nigeria. Our key focus areas are trade and cultural exchanges”.



The trade that flows from India to Nigeria is massive. So does India’s industry too. Natural resources like crude oil flows to India from Nigeria and the balance of trade is this:

In 2021, India exported $4.75B to Nigeria. The main products that India exported to Nigeria are Refined Petroleum ($992M), Packaged Medicaments ($488M), and Motorcycles and cycles ($433M). During the last 26 years the exports of India to Nigeria have increased at an annualized rate of 14.4%, from $145M in 1995 to $4.75B in 2021.

In 2021, Nigeria exported $9.07B to India. The main products that Nigeria exported to India were Crude Petroleum ($8.11B), Petroleum Gas ($826M), and Coconuts, Brazil Nuts, and Cashews ($53.6M).

During the last 26 years the exports of Nigeria to India have increased at an annualized rate of 10.6%, from $661M in 1995 to $9.07B in 2021.

In 2021, India ranked 41 in the Economic Complexity Index (ECI 0.61), and 14 in total exports ($403B). That same year, Nigeria ranked 126 in the Economic Complexity Index (ECI -1.56), and 52 in total exports ($57.7B).


It may seem that the table is near level, giving cause for optimistic cheer, but it is not.

First, consider the press release from the State House:



Undeterred by jetlag from a long intercontinental journey, President Bola Tinubu, on Tuesday, arrived in New Delhi to the immediate embrace of Mr. Gopichand Hinduja, the Chairman and CEO of the Hinduja Group of Companies, a conglomerate with a total asset portfolio exceeding $100 billion U.S. Dollars.

The Indian Industrialist was received by the President within 90 minutes of the President’s arrival in India for a meeting, which began around 8:00pm local time.

Accompanied to the meeting by Nigeria’s Ministers of Finance, Trade & Industry, and Foreign Affairs, the smiling Nigerian leader made it clear to his first visitor that he is in India with one focus: attracting investments to Nigeria with lucrative opportunities for investors, but most essentially, jobs for Nigerians and new revenue opportunities for Nigeria’s federal and sub-national governments.

“We are here for business. I am here to personally assure our friends and investors that there is no bottleneck that I will not break. Nigeria will become one of the most conducive places on earth to make good profits and create lasting jobs. With my support, there is nothing standing in your way of enjoying the unrivaled opportunities presented by our massive market and the ingenious & hardworking nature of the Nigerian people. We are open for business,” the President firmly assured.

The Hinduja Group Chairman told the President that he was a living witness to his landmark effort as Governor of Lagos in turning a coastal erosion and water encroachment crisis into a massive free trade zone where industry now thrives. This, he said, was partially responsible for his excitement to partner with Nigeria’s new President to create win-win prosperity for Nigeria’s talented population.

“We believe in you as a leader who has done this before. You know what the challenges are. You know how to fix them. We are going to make investments into the billions of dollars under your leadership, because we see you are already addressing the systemic problems. I am ready now to sign an MoU and to begin execution. You tell me who to liase with and we will get to work immediately, particularly with respect to bus and automobile manufacturing in Nigeria, amongst other areas,” the Industrialist enthusiastically stated.

The President did not wait to respond.

“Ministers of Trade and Finance, the two of you will follow this up immediately and you will draw up the terms to the satisfaction of both parties. If there are any issues at all which require my intervention, they must be brought to my attention immediately.”

After the President assigned the task of concluding the agreement to the two Ministers in collaboration with Hinduja Group Executives, who were present in the room, the industrialist could not hide his excitement.

“I have had paperwork stalled in Nigerian bureaucracy for over one year, especially in FCT, but I knew that you would be purpose driven in this endeavour and God will help you to turn Nigeria’s rich promise into rich reality for all of its citizens,” the Indian Billionaire concluded.

The President concluded that his task of making Nigeria great can only be achieved through teamwork and not in isolation, noting that when his investors are happy, Nigerians will rejoice by partaking in an inclusive economy where hard work is rewarded and where excellence becomes the reputation of the nation.

Chief Ajuri Ngelale
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
September 5, 2023

Turning “Nigeria’s rich promise into a rich reality for all of its citizens” can better be done by it’s competent citizens based on the right attitude, skills set, patriotism and discipline.

It’s an aberration that Nigeria exports crude oil to India, and import petroleum products from them. There’s going to be no way ever that they would help the country overcome that bottleneck that is to their disadvantage.

Take Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) engineers for instance, it is common knowledge that there’s nothing that they cannot fix in that corporation.

Set competition there for them. Then tell them to shape or lose out of salaries and allowances unless there’s profit to be made, they will way their options, carefully.

Indians have been here to manage so much, from Railways to what have you. Was any technology transferred?

Unless Nigeria’s own engineers are given the latitude and encouragement to fix things, the country will continue to hop from China to India and others with nothing to show. They cannot transfer technology and be left high and dry. They must always work things out to keep us dependent on them. It’s business.

By Greg Abolo



Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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