The Indian Government says it will continue to buy Nigeria’s crude oil and sustain its bilateral cooperation with the country in power, agriculture, Natural Gas, and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Mr Kaisar Alam, acting High Commissioner of the India High Commission in Nigeria, said this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on the sideline of a ceremony organised to commemorate India’s 66th Republic Day.
According to Alam, the diplomatic relations between India and Nigeria has grown steadily since 1958.
“India is still Nigeria’s partner as far as importing oil from Nigeria is concerned.
“India shares its relations with Nigeria too much and it is not going to ditch Nigeria at this difficult time; we are friends and in friendship we do not ditch anybody.
“In fact, government oil companies from India are here and already held a meeting with officials of NNPC.”
It will be recalled that the Indian Government at the just concluded India-Africa Hydrocarbons Conference said it planned to double its import of crude oil from Nigeria in 2016.
It was reported that Nigeria, the third-largest crude oil supplier to India, had offered a term contract to supply three million tons of crude oil in 2016 to Indian Oil Corporation.
The acting high commissioner, however, said that the economic relations between both countries had grown over the years, adding that India had remained Nigeria’s major trade partner in 2015.
“The bilateral trade in 2014 to 2015 stood at $16.36 billion though trade surplus was heavily in favour of Nigeria.
“India imports about eight to 12 per cent of its crude oil needs from Nigeria running into $13 billion to $14 billion per year and constitutes a major chunk of India-Nigeria bilateral trade.
“I hope the bilateral cooperation will grow even further especially in sectors such as power, agriculture, SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) and oil and natural gas where there is huge potential for cooperation between the two countries.”
Alam also said that India attached great importance to rendering assistance to the developing countries in their capacity building and human resource development.
He recalled that India had pledged a loan of $10 billion for Africa over the next five years at the recent India-Africa summit held in Oct. 2015.
The envoy explained that the loan had pledged a loan of $10 billion for Africa over the next five years.
The envoy explained that the loan is expected to finance projects in infrastructure, agriculture, power skill development, among others.
“At every summit, the government of India makes announcement of loans at a concessional rate given for various infrastructural and other projects.
“For access to such loans, the concerned governments of the different African countries are expected to present proposals and the loan is granted after the proposal is examined.”
He said Nigeria had so far not made any proposal.
“Already Nigeria has been granted a $100 million loan for power projects in three states, Enugu, Rivers, and Kaduna; that is still there and we are trying to implement that.”