Give Nigerians more trade in SA – plea
NIGERIAN Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday trade with South Africa was unfairly tilted in favour of the latter.
Jonathan spoke as the two largest economies in sub-Saharan Africa kicked off celebrations to mark a decade of bilateral ties under the aegis of the Nigeria/South Africa BiNational Commission.
He said there were concerns that bilateral relations had yielded enormous benefits for South African entrepreneurs investing in Nigeria.
By contrast, he said, there were little or no opportunities for Nigerians to do real business here.
“Nigerians have questioned the very rationale for the commission if its benefits are so skewed and if South African authorities are engaged in alleged acts of discrimination against Nigerian visitors, residents and businesses in South Africa,” he said.
Business people from the two countries opened talks yesterday to seek ways of levelling the playing field.
South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is expected to address the forum today.
Official sources in South Africa say more than 100 South African companies operate in Nigeria – a jump from only four before 1999.
The largest are in banking, telecommunications, retail and entertainment.
No figures for Nigerian companies in South Africa were readily available.
South Africa, one of the continent’s largest oil consumers, gets most of its crude requirements from the Middle East, yet Nigeria is one of Africa’s two top oil producers.
Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Bongi Maria Ntuli said Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, was South Africa’s second-largest trading partner on the continent.
The suspected involvement of Nigerians in crimes in South Africa – from internet scams to the production of fake South African identity cards, passports, immigration and marriage documents – is one of the sore points in relations between the two countries. – Sapa-AFP