With access to foreign exchange for business operations becoming limited due to lower price of natural gas and declining trade, Japanese firms under the aegis of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), have expressed interests in intensifying local production in the country to support government’s diversification agenda.
According to the organisation, while it plays its role, there is a need for the federal government to implement clear cut monetary policies while also improving the business environment to attract the much needed foreign and local investments into Nigeria.
The Trade Commissioner and Managing Director, Japan External Trade Organization, (JETRO), Taku Miyazaki, explained that Nigeria must also address bottlenecks hindering investments in the country, saying the country is still plagued with infrastructural challenges such as power, delayed cargo clearing processes at the ports and multiplicity of taxes by various regulatory agencies.
Miyazaki during a press conference at the ongoing Lagos International Trade Fair ( LITF), said despite the harsh business environment in the country, numbers of Japanese companies have strong interest in the Nigerian market, adding that Japan is willing to offer technical assistance and support to improve the Nigerian business community.
“We are more than willing to support Nigeria in areas such as infrastructure, technology. We have companies who are not just making and selling their products in Nigeria, but also create jobs, educate staff, transfer technology and share values of Japanese craftsmanship.
“There has been an increasing trend of “manufacturing in Nigeria” in the past couple of years among Japanese companies. I believe that can serve as a means of industrial development of Nigerian and contribute to its Nigeria’s quest of economic diversification which is the key agenda of the federal government,” he said.
He however stated that trade between both countries in the past six months of 2016 has declined due to the current scarcity of foreign exchange and low purchasing demands, maintaining that export from Japan to Nigeria decreased to 52. 2 per cent while import from Nigeria declined to 70.1 per cent due to dwindling global oil and gas prices.
He said import from Japan to Nigeria and export from Nigeria to Japan in 2015 marked significant decrease of 50.4 per cent representing about $358.7 million and 37.3 per cent representing $2,829 million respectively.
He said JETRO has been in Nigeria since 1955 with the aim of strengthening economic relationships between both countries, stressing that this year’s fair would open up more areas to bring in more Japanese companies into the Nigerian market.
“This is the third year of participation since 2014. Our pavilion is one of the biggest in the fair with nearly 30 Japanese firms and their local distributors showcasing their products and technologies to Nigerian business persons and citizens through the 10 days event. We are offering the Nigerian markets durable products developed with highly advanced technology which would eventually give customers cost-saving benefits as well,” he said.
He noted that JETRO’s key focus areas in Nigeria is to seek ways on how to promote investment from Japan to Nigeria, encourage export by Nigerian companies to Japan and assist in human resource development in Nigeria.