" />
Published On: Mon, Nov 2nd, 2015

Why India is Buhari’s beautiful bride today

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari is not cast in the mould of the legendary Ajala the traveller like some other Nigerian leader that we know. A careful man and a defiantly ascetic personality, he also is not one for winding curves and convoluted patterns: he cuts to the chase.

Evidence of this can be readily gleaned from his travel itinerary since his emergence as President of Africa’s most populous nation. He goes only to places that he really is persuaded that he must go. For security reasons, he has visited Chad, Niger, Cameroun and Benin Republic. For international engagements, he has gone to the US and Germany. And now, he has also gone to India. For what?

India, the second most populous nation on earth is like Nigeria a former British colony. But Buhari did not go the India to speak the Queen’s English. His visit was to participate in the Indo-Africa summit convened by the revivalist Modi administration. But it has also afforded the Nigerian leader variable opportunity to touch base with a nation that is acknowledged today as Nigeria’s largest trading partner. And growing

Proof of this is the fact that India is now Nigeria’s largest crude importer with an estimated 20 -25 percent of India’s domestic oil demand currently being met by Nigeria.  This translates to India purchasing 30% of Nigeria’s daily crude production amounting to some 400, 000bpd. This US$10bn trade is reinforced by Indian oil companies being involved in oil drilling operations in the country.

Overall, India’s economic interest in Nigeria has continued to grow, rising from USD 293.71 million in 1999-00 to USD 875 million in 2005-06. In 2007, the value of non-oil bilateral trade was estimated at between USD 6-7.9 billion. Exports to India accounted for USD 3.9 billion between April and September, 2006. India’s exports to Nigeria were valued at USD $875 million in 2005/06.

Singly then, Nigeria is the largest trading partner of India in Africa and also the largest market in Africa for Indian exports. Bilateral annual trade turnover was over US$ 17.3 billion in 2011-12 registering the growth of over 34%.  During 2012-13, Indian exports further grew by 1.33% though bilateral trade slightly declined to $ 16.8 billion.

Some 100 or more Indian companies today operate in Nigeria. Prominent among them are Bharti Airtel, Indorama, Olam International, Tata, Bajaj Auto,  Birla Group, Kirloskar, Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, NIIT, ApTech  New  India  Assurance,  Bhushan  Steel,  KEC,  Skipper  Nigeria,  Dabur,  Godrej and  the Primus  Super-speciality  Hospital.

Put in other terms then, for a Buhari administration that is buffeted by very heady economic headwinds, engaging India correctly is a task that must be done. And it is looking like both parties may very well be abreast with what is at stake.

READ  Bongo: No cause for alarm over failed MPC meeting

The first move in the currently unfolding engagement may have itself been made by India. Days into the emergence of Buhari as President, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, in what observers perceive as a clear act of diplomatic hardball gave an uncharacteristic interview berating the former administration in the land and alluding to the fact that its officials and operatives may have corruptly frustrated the Asian nation’s bid to get a better foothold in the Nigerian oil sector.

The concerned officials and institutions mentioned in the story have since stated their own side but the mere fact that the High Commissioner spoke, and in such light, clearly demonstrated that India was pushing on all fours.

Equally, India also came prepared to give a number of freebies to the mother continent. It is offering African countries concessional credit of $10 billion for 10 years, grant assistance of $600m & 50000 scholarships.

But why?

Some of the answer may be found in the historic frame of Third World solidarity. But it is more than that. India under Modi is pushing to take a front place in the world. It wants a seat in the UN Security Council. It has learnt from China that an Asian country can push its weight if it strives hard. After all, the once limping Chinese economy is now a massive $17trillion fortress! And of course there is the added fact that India’s Modi is presently re-discovering that one sure way to create jobs for its burgeoning population is to partner with far-flung nations on different levels.

And with the high standards of the west and better industrialized Northern hemisphere, India knows that it has to chiefly look south to begin its journey. So it is being nice to Southern nations (including the 54 that comprise the African Union) that can take some Indian personnel, business, money and kebab in return for giving India access to its markets, cheap raw materials and citizens.

Remarks Catherine Grant Makokera of the Conflict Management and Peacebuilding Division of ISS Pretoria:

‘While it is always difficult to generalise continental activities that largely take place at a bilateral level, there are some common objectives in India’s approach to Africa. The three notable areas …are India’s search for new markets, for resource security, and for allies in multilateral negotiations – including at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, World Trade Organisation and United Nations.’

The question then is not what India wants per se but rather what Buhari and Nigeria set their sights to get when they accepted to join in the Indian party?

Some of this can be answered by the President’s address at a session with Indian business players when he reportedly stated that in lieu of the fall in oil prices, his government was already implementing policies that may hurt operations of some businesses in the short term, but which it believed were right for a sustainable economy.

BY RICHARD MAMMAH & FELIX OLOYEDE

READ  APC mourns Justice Dahiru Musdapher

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • FG grants PPAs of 14 solar projects another 6 months extension

    For the second time since 2016, the Federal Government  has extended by another six months, the deadline for the execution of the power purchase agreements (PPAs) it signed with investors for 14 utility solar power projects to be built in some states of the country. According to OGN reports it was reportedly rolled over after […]

  • Dangote Sugar targets 25% sales volumes in 2018

    The acting Managing Director of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Abdullahi Sule, believes the company’s  sales volumes could rise as much as 25 percent in 2018 after last year’s downturn. Nigeria’s economy, which contracted in 2016, is recovering after the government relaxed some currency controls implemented after the price of oil, its main export, crashed in […]

  • Emefiele dismisses fears over MPC meeting, insists economy is strong

    The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has allayed the fears of Nigerians and the international community over the inability to hold the meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) for January. A statement signed by Emefiele in Abuja on Monday, said that the meeting, which was earlier scheduled for the day […]

  • Nigeria, Angola crude overhang could pressurize Asian crude

    Traders have said that unsold barrels of crude from West Africa could put pressure on the premiums of Malaysian crude cargoes for March loading.   Platts reports that weaker demand, particularly from independent refineries in China, for February-loading Angolan and Nigerian grades has resulted in an overhang, traders said. Traders indicated that these grades were […]

  • NBS: 77.5m Nigerians engage in economic activities in Q3

    The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says 77.55 million people are engaged in economic activities out of a labour force of 85.08 million in the third quarter of 2017. The NBS disclosed this in a “Labour Force Statistics Volume 2: Employment by Sector report for Third Quarter of 2017’’ released by the bureau on Monday […]

  • Lassa fever: Schools reopen in Ebonyi

    Public and private schools in Ebonyi shut on Jan. 18 to check the spread of Lassa fever outbreak in the state have reopened the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports. Prof. John Eke, the Commissioner for Education, told NAN on Monday in Abakaliki, that the schools were reopened as no new case of the disease […]

  • Four major markets in Nigeria need 36.27MW to grow efficiency – REA

    A baseline survey of the energy needs of four of the major markets in Nigeria, which the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) conducted, has indicated that with 36.27 megawatts (MW) of stable electricity provided to them, economic productivity in the markets could expand and bring more prosperity to about 50,900 shop owners there, OGN reports. The […]

  • ALSCON: Nigeria, Russia sign Share Purchase agreement

    Nigeria has signed the Renewed Share Purchase Agreement with Messrs UC Rusal of Russia in respect of the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON). The agreement was signed in in Abuja on Friday by the relevant government stakeholders, including the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi. Present at the ceremony were the […]

  • Slimming drugs: Expert calls for stiff regulation

    Dr Bamidele Iwalokun, a medical researcher with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) in Yaba, Lagos, has called for stiffer regulation of slimming drugs to safeguard the health of consumers. Iwalokun made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday. He said there was the need […]

  • Derivatives trading: US expert speaks on the pluses and pitfalls

    As part of strategic initiatives to enhance the efficiency of capital market operations in Nigeria, The Nigerian Stock Exchange and Coronation Merchant Bank invited the former Chair of the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission (US CFTC), Mr. James Stone to deliver a special lecture on ‘Pluses and Pitfalls of Derivatives Trading’ at the Nigerian Stock […]

  • Ajimobi: Oyo set to increase institutions subventions

    The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has appealed to the striking state-owned higher institutions that his administration is prepared to increase their subventions. The governor said this would be achieved as soon as government’s renewed efforts to improve its revenue-base begin to bear fruits. Ajimobi, who made the appeal while inaugurating the governing councils of […]

  • SEC’s e-dividend free registration ends Feb 28

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has extended period for the free e-dividend registration to Feb. 28, to encourage more shareholders participation in the initiative. The commission in a statement obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, indicated that the extension was part of its developmental role. It said that the extension […]

  • Nigerian equities market goes bearish after hitting over nine year high

    FELIX OLOYEDE Profit-taking caused the Nigerian Stock market to go bearish for the first time this week after reaching over nine year high on Wednesday. The All Share Index declined -0.08 per cent to close at 44,848.74 point on Thursday after hitting 44885.24 point the previous day, the highest since September 2008 when it closed […]

  • 2019: Wike gets second term endorsement

    Residents of River state have endorsed the Governor, Nyesom Wike, for another term of four years. They declared their support for the governor when over 15,000 non-indigenes of the state visited the Government House on Wednesday in Port Harcourt, the state capital, Channels TV reports. Wike urged Nigerians irrespective of their linguistic and religious affiliation […]

  • Banks enjoy improved liquidity as overnight rate drops three consecutive days

    FELIX OLOYEDE The redemption of Treasury Bills by Federal Government has helped to improve liquidity in Nigerian banking sector as overnight rate declined three consecutive times this week. Overnight (O/N) rate dropped -0.75 per cent to 5.75 per cent on Thursday, while Open Buy Back (OBB) rate was down -0.92 per cent to 5.25 per […]

  • Lassa fever: Ebonyi Schools proceed on forced break

    Schools in Ebonyi State have been directed to close for a week following the outbreak of Lassa fever in the state. The state government said the directive was given as part of measures to contain the spread of the disease in the state. Commissioner for Health, Umuzuruike Daniel, also confirmed the death of three victims […]