Nigeria’s trade relations with Russia lopsided — Envoy

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Nigeria’s Ambassador to Russia, Amb. Assam Assam, says the Nigerian mission is worried about the lopsided trade relations with Russia.

Assam, who made the observation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Eket, noted that economic relations between Nigeria and Russia favoured the Russians.

He said the Nigerian mission had commenced moves to address the trade imbalance and was wooing Russian Chambers of Commerce with investment opportunities in the oil and gas industry within the Niger Delta.

“The trade with Russia is totally lopsided. In the current year, the Russians exported about $350m (about N56bn) worth of goods to Nigeria, and Nigeria exported nothing.

“That is precisely why I am working to ensure that the imbalance is corrected, I am meeting with the chambers of commerce of the Russian Federation and of Moscow.

“I am meeting with Russian banks and investment houses and I am also meeting with major players in the oil industry.

“In the hope that we will be able to attract some of them to come in to do direct foreign investment in Nigeria which, we think in the long run, will redress that lopsidedness.”

Assam explained that the mission was working on developing markets for non-oil exports to boost trade with Russia.

The envoy also commented on the development of abundant gas reserves in Akwa Ibom.

He said the country had an existing Memorandum of Understanding with Gazprom, a Russian gas firm, which would be implemented.

Assam said that the MOU provided a framework for meaningful economic relations that would be mutually beneficial to both countries as well as strengthen bilateral relations between them.

According to the diplomat, the Russian expertise in gas will be deployed to develop the sector in Akwa Ibom and boost export to Russia.

He said that two Russian firms had already been invited to join in the oil and gas exploration activities in Akwa Ibom and would soon commence operations.

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