30 March 2015, Lagos – The Nigeria-Belgium Chamber of Commerce has restated its commitment to strengthening trade ties between both counties. The Chamber has also accentuated the vast opportunities in Nigerian maritime sector.
On trade relations, Okoya said: “It is our strong desire at the Chamber to deepen trade and strengthen investment links between these two nations. This will be done effectively through trade missions, conferences and workshops that will provide the platform to show case the vast opportunities that exist between Belgium and Nigeria.”
“The Nigeria-Belgian chamber of commerce will forge ahead new partnership that will bring prosperity and wealth to both nations by unleashing the power of the private sector participations through free enterprise.”
He also said the months ahead would be challenging for Nigeria as a result of the fall in prices of crude oil, which still contributes almost 80 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
He added: “It is projected that the economy will only grow by only five per cent as against the seven per cent growth we have witnessed for a couple of years. The positive side to all these numbers is that it presents a wonderful opportunity to diversify the national economy into agriculture, maritime, industry financial services to West African region and Africa at large.”
The President said: “Nigeria can become and should become regional powerhouse and logistic base for oil and gas industry for the entire continent.”
According to him, the opportunity is vast as Nigeria is strategically located on the Bight of Benin and the Gulf of Guinea with the 10th largest hydrocarbon deposit in the world.
Okoya further said: “As new countries on these rich coastal lines begin to discover new oil wells, the proven reserve will certainly increase beyond the current levels. It is an undisputed fact that there certainly will be an increased requirement for logistics base, fabrication yards, ships repairs etc. if we don’t take the initiative of other countries will do it for us.
“And security should security should not be seen as a barrier as it has been proven from recent experience in the Niger delta that the only way to guarantee security is to empower the stakeholders in the communities where these resources are being exploited and to do so in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner.”
– This Day