• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Nigeria, Slovakia, plot areas of business collaboration

Nigeria, Slovakia, plot areas of business collaboration

Nigeria and the Republic of Slovakia may kick off economic and industrial projects in the coming years. This may start by appointing a new Counselor to man their consulate located in Port Harcourt and beef up their offices in Lagos and Abuja.

Agriculture may be a major area of investment collaboration as climate and industrial factors may have hindered good food production in Slovakia which may make both countries help each other. This way, Slovak can help Nigeria produce more food and import them from Nigeria while Nigeria imports machinery from them to help produce and process agro-products.

These were the highlights of a high-powered meeting of the Nigeria-Slovak Chamber of Commerce (NSCC) which was held in Abuja in the week with the ambassador of Slovak, Tomas Felix. The Chamber team was led by Douglas Negedu (chairman, board of trustees) and Emmanuel Ejiogu (member, board of trustees). Others present were Victoria Negedu, Uchenna and Henry.

Areas of attention, according documents made available to BusinessDay from the meeting, areas that may be of focus include fruit juice plants, agro-processing, transportation (mini-busses production) and renewable energy.

A major decision taken at the meeting was to appoint a new ‘Honourable Consulate’ to head the Consulate in Port Harcourt since the former occupant died over one year ago. The new ‘Honourable Consulate is expected to unite all the organizations operating under the Nigeria-Slovak Chamber of Commerce and galvanize them into a formidable economic force.

In the meeting, Douglas Negedu, who was introduced to the ambassador, explained the need for Slovakia to stand with Nigeria in the days ahead. He mentioned that Nigeria is almost transiting into a new government and is also moving from a consumption to a productive economy and that is why there is a need for the reactivation of the Nigeria-Slovak Chamber of Commerce which will play a great role for both countries.

The board chairman handed over the evidence/documents of the Nigeria-Slovak Chamber of Commerce to the ambassador to enable him work on an active participation of businesses from both countries.

Read also: In Washington, Emefiele solicits investments, says Nigeria full of opportunities

In his response, the ambassador, who expressed determination to boost volume of business between the two countries, revealed that his country would eagerly monitor the 2023 elections in Nigeria. This was taken as indication that foreign countries are keen about the next elections in Nigeria in terms of economic collaborations. Slovak particularly hoped for open arms by the next president of Nigeria.

The ambassador particularly looked forward to businesses by Slovakia in Port Harcourt zone and to revive some projects that were expected to take off in the area some years back.

He admitted that there are difficulties so far concerning business collaboration between Nigeria and the European Union (EU) and hoped for things to get smoother. He also made it clear that Nigeria did not need aides but the ability to manage her huge resources.

Concerning agriculture, the ambassador revealed the weak points of his country, saying Slovak lost a lot of land due to manufacturers taking the land for production. He said other factors like climate hindered agriculture in Slovak. “The moment crops begin to grow the weather changes almost immediately thereby destroying the crops that were planted.” So, most of the time, their country has to lean on importation of these crops.

This was seen as an opportunity for collaboration between the countries so Slovak can help Nigeria produce more food and import from Nigeria while Nigeria imports machinery. It was also mentioned how Nigeria at present is deepening its agric sector.

In his further intervention, the ambassador mentioned a company in Slovak that is into organic fertilizer for African soil. He promised to contact them to see the possibilities of doing business with them concerning agriculture in Nigeria.

On the issue of small size tractors and handheld tractors for agriculture, the ambassador said that part of the production of this equipment is in Slovakia and Czech. He said there is need for Nigerians to become distributors for these equipment despite issues of foreign exchange availability.

He was however told that small processing plants for the production of natural fruit drinks were needed so as to create employment for women and youths in the communities.

On energy, the ambassador said Slovakia is not strong in that sector: “Slovakia does not produce solar panels; we also import.” He rather tilted towards hydro energy. He was told that the strong wind in Nigeria’s south would be useful to propel turbines and produce electricity so Nigerians can get off the grid as long as its independent from the government.

Other things that Nigeria can benefit from Slovakia are as follows;

Recycling of plastic bottles: A project is ongoing in Warri Delta State by a Slovakian company. The ambassador said he can talk to the company to see how they can expand their project to other states due to the volume of waste. This is also a contribution to climate.

Slovakia is open to being involved in the international trade fair in Lagos. The ambassador can motivate a Slovakian to participate in the next trade fair in Lagos 2023. The ambassador was of the opinion of preferring to meet with business men and women during or after the trade fair to talk about business opportunities. Any Nigeria-Slovak business meeting can be held online because paying a visit to the Republic of Slovak is very difficult but not impossible.