Nigerian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will soon benefit from a 700 million euro Dutch fund.
This was disclosed recently by Lilianne Ploumen, Netherlands Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Co-operation, during the Nigeria-Netherlands Business and Investment Forum that held in the Hague, Netherlands. The Nigerian delegation was led by Olusegun Aganga, Minister of Industry Trade and Investment.
Ploumen disclosed that his country was setting up a 700-million euro growth fund to help their SMEs invest in growth areas, and agreed to the Federal Government’s proposal to put Nigeria on that list.
It was also agreed that there would be possibilities for Nigerian SMEs to access the growth fund to expand their businesses and also invest in critical and thriving sectors. The fund will be launched in January 2014.
Aganga remarked that the Netherlands had been a big trading partner for Nigeria, noting that the two countries must work together to tackle the problems, which led to a decline in the volume of trade between them in 2012.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government and the Netherlands have commenced plans to set up a Dutch agro-industrial park in Nigeria, in line with the determination of the current administration to create jobs, generate wealth and enhance economic growth.
The decision to explore the strengths of both countries for a win-win economic relationship was reached during the Hague meeting between Aganga and Ploumen on the sidelines of the meeting.
“The Netherlands has a well-developed food processing industry. They are also the largest producers and exporters of food. This, combined with the availability of raw materials and the large market in Nigeria, will give rise to a successful partnership on the establishment of an industrial zone on food processing in Nigeria,” Aganga said. The two ministers have therefore agreed to set up a technical team to execute the project as fast as possible.
A major problem identified was the unfavourable visa regime, particularly the absence of a consular office for the Netherlands in Nigeria. The Netherlands government promised to review the problem and also reinstate the consular office in Nigeria