RUME OYITSO |
The President of the Indian Cultural Association, Chief Sanjay Jain, has said that Nigeria has a very good opportunity to become a major player in the area of agriculture, which he claimed the country has started exploring.
He made the declaration while speaking with Business Hallmark during India’s 71st Independence Day celebration in Lagos.
According to Sanjay Jain, the present administration should be appreciated for its effort to boost the GDP through diversification into the agricultural and real sector
“Already, the current administration has taken the bull by the horns with the planned diversification of the economy. This must be sustained.
“Another thing is that both Nigeria and India are developing nations and both are populous, though with some variance. In many ways, the populations of the two countries have been their major tools for economic advancement and it has been a major attraction for foreign investment.
“For instance, Nigeria is said to be 20 percent of Africa and this makes the country a big one. However, Nigeria’s economy depends largely on oil, India’s is not. Appreciatively, Nigeria has a very good opportunity in the area of Agriculture, which the country has started exploring, knowing well that economy should not depend only on oil”, he said.
He advocated the need for strong bilateral relationship between Nigeria and India, admonishing the two sides to explore similarities, common good and common strength to build sustainable economies for both the countries.
“In the meantime, we must have more vibrant bilateral relationship on how we can help each other. In the area of manufacturing and agriculture, Nigeria imports machineries from India to help the sectors while India buy oil from Nigeria.
“We can build on this to deepen our relationship. Most important fact here to highlight is that the trade is almost bilateral and not one-way”, he said.
He further disclosed that the Indian Cultural Association, which has been in existence for over 50 years, had provided essential several social amenities and some health interventions for Nigeria.
“As an association which was established to involve in charitable activities, we have done extensively for needy Nigerians in the last 50 years. Currently, we are investing a lot into provision of water facilities for schools in Lagos and we have done this for about 100 + schools and still counting.
“In line with the popular saying that ‘health is wealth’, we believe that if school pupils drink well treated water, it will help them live healthy lives. Because of this, we have consistently provided water to many schools to discourage children from buying and consuming water from the pouches sold in the market which can be detrimental to their health.
“The model we adopted here is what is practiced in India to provide drinking water in the schools. As I speak, thousands of pupils who have benefitted or benefitting from such water facilities provided in those schools are ambassadors of the Indian Community in Nigeria”.