• Saturday, March 02, 2024
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Why Nigeria should brace up for Taiwan’s election on Saturday

Why Nigeria should brace up for Taiwan’s election on Saturday

The self-governing island with about 23.9million in population will hold elections on January 13. The poll is important to Nigeria as the country’s second most important African commercial trading partner. This year marks 33 years since the establishment of Taiwan’s trade mission in Nigeria to grow the business relationship. Bilateral trade between Nigeria and Taiwan totaled US$295 million in 2020, decreasing -17.47% over 2019. Both countries had a combined trade volume of $1 billion in 2021.

Nigeria’s major export to Taiwan includes; crude oil, natural gas, Sesame, cashew nuts and solid minerals while Nigeria imports machinery, refined oil and some chemicals from Taiwan.

The election result will have a role to play as to whether the Taiwan-Nigerian relationship will dwindle, deepen or just be maintained.

Andy Yih-Ping Liu, Taiwanese Ambassador to Nigeria, who is equally representative of the Taiwan Trade Office in Nigeria, spoke to BusinessDay in an interview in 2022 on how the trade relationship between both countries can be enhanced, its political and business relationship with China and more.

He said, “There are two major things that both the Nigerian and Taiwanese governments are working on now. The first one is to have a renewal of the mutual investment protection agreement. That agreement was signed in 1994.

“The Nigerian government approached us for the renewal. Your government works so hard as it has concluded that renewal with Singapore and others. In Asia, the Nigerian government has also approached South Korea for renewal of the mutual protection investment because investment will drive more job opportunities into Nigeria.

“It will also have an agreement with the Taiwanese Import and Export Bank to provide $5 million in trading guarantee loans for any Nigerian or Taiwanese traders for mutual trading. Our embassy needs to facilitate the channel of doing good business. NACCIMA, which is an umbrella trading agency in Nigeria, is now working with us to have an upgrade and renewal of the MoU.

“We have also made connections with other chambers of commerce and industry so that members of such trading associations in Taiwan can benefit from recommended traders under NACCIMA or chambers of commerce in Nigeria to avoid trade fraud.

When asked about opportunity for both countries in terms of human capital exchange, the Ambassador said,

“We have had a lot of training programmes for Nigerian experts in various professional backgrounds, like doctors, nurses, and information technology experts, to travel to Taiwan in the last 15 years.

“Those who have been trained in Taiwan have formed Taiwan alumni and that has become a bridge towards having more Nigerian professionals in different backgrounds travel to Taiwan either for agriculture, industrialisation, medical or any other training. Taiwan can equally come to Nigeria as your country is a big country.

“We want to understand more things about Nigeria, especially its democracy and human rights commission. There is currently no government discussion on it, but we have sent individual invitations to ministries and departments.”

Joana Mai, Economic Counselor, Taiwan trade mission, in another interview with BusinessDay sometime in 2021 said Taiwan already has a cluster of industries across the country, but is seeking to attract new investments in sub-sectors such as food processing, machinery, plastic and rubber machinery, Information, Communication Technology (ICT) solution, and alternative energy.

Mai said Nigeria and Taiwan already signed an agreement to provide a $5billion trading loan for Nigerian and Taiwanese companies to facilitate trading. She affirmed that Taiwan is already on the path to upgrade its investment protection and promotion agreement with the Nigerian government.

She urged Nigeria to focus on the non-oil economy especially with the vast natural resources in the country, while noting that the world is already upgrading to electricon cars or green energy and looking away from crude oil.

“Taiwan has lots of industry clusters and teams that are willing to come to Nigeria, for example, medical devices, textile, green energy, recycling of plastic and waste, ICT software, digital economy.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Nigeria’s manufacturing market become more mature and Taiwanese businesses will as a team partner with Nigeria join the global supply chain,” she enthused.

Mai added that Taiwan is also eager to share knowledge with Nigeria on how Taiwan grows and develops her industry. “For example, in agriculture, we don’t just want to sell you our machine, we also want to share with you the knowledge about smart farming and how to use technology to enable and improve agricultural productivity”.