Both T&T and Nigeria stand to benefit from the establishment of a joint Chamber of Commerce. The Nigeria/Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce provide tremendous opportunities for profit generation through productive ventures between the two countries said Nigerian High Commissioner to T&T, Musa John Jen. "It is common knowledge that commerce and trade between nations are the key to the strengthening of bilateral relationships and the establishment of closer partnerships and collaboration in the commanding sectors of the economy of both countries," he said at the Chamber's launch last Saturday at the Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre, St Ann's.
He lamented that not enough business was done between the two countries in the past. "After 48 years of formal diplomatic relations between T&T and Nigeria not much has been achieved in terms of mutually beneficial linkages, partnerships or collaborative ventures between the two countries in terms of trade and commerce, culture, tourism, industries, air and sea transport, educational exchange programmes etc," he said.
Since then, he said, progress has been made in the energy field. "However significant progress has been made in the area of crude oil importation by T&T from Nigeria and export of jet fuel, urea fertiliser and household items to Nigeria from T&T." He described the launch of the Chamber as "auspicious and timely" given that 2011 has been declared the year of African descent by the United Nations. "This Chamber can be facilitated with ease throughout the establishment of similar platforms in both countries to create an enabling environment for conductive business partnerships, investments or mutually beneficial exchanges to take place."
The idea for the Chamber was borne from both Nigerians and Trinidadians, he said. "The Nigerian T&T Chamber was an idea nurtured by prominent Nigerians and Trinidadians here in T&T for several years. It is hoped that in time the Chamber will graduate to a Caricom-ECOWAS Chamber," he said. He also said a similar Chamber will be registered in Nigeria in three months. "This will facilitate easy linkages between Trinbagonian corporate organisations and genuine business outfits in Nigeria for ease in business transactions," he said.
He said areas of interest between the two countries include oil and gas, mining, finance and agriculture among others. He added that Nigeria is one of the largest African countries and has a good credit rating internationally. "In 2008 Merrill Lynch, a US based global financial management and advisory company in 2008 identified Nigeria as the least vulnerable company in the world."