Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Canada, Adeyinka Asekun has called for the review of the investment agreement between Nigeria and Canada.
Speaking during a webinar programme organised by the Nigerian Mission to mark the country’s sixtieth Independence anniversary on Thursday, 1 October 2020, Asekun said that Nigeria’s investment portfolio in Canada in 2019 was 934 million dollars. Asekun explained that the investment portfolio was more than double the 390 million dollars which Canada invested in Nigeria last year.
“I would like to point out that in 2019, Canadian investment in Nigeria was 390 million dollars, whereas Nigerian investment in Canada was 934 million dollars. So, Nigeria has invested 2.4 times in Canada as much as Canada has invested in Nigeria, and Nigeria is going to be among Canada’s top three trading partners.
“I would like to respectfully suggest that it is time to reconsider the model for mutual benefit of both countries. It is rather limiting, to put it mildly.’’ he said.
According to local media reports on Friday, 2 October 2020, Nigeria and Canada signed a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement in 2014, which Canada latter ratified in the same year. The reports added that Nigeria did not ratify it because it was found to be unbalanced and inconsistent with Nigeria’s 2016 bilateral investment treaty model.
Asekun decried the low trade volume between the two countries, in spite of the fact that Nigeria was Canada’s number three trading partner.
According to him, Canada imported goods worth 4.5 billion dollars from Nigeria between 2015 and 2019, with fossil fuels accounting for 96 percent. Canada’s exports to Nigeria, on the other hand, totalled 2.2 billion dollars, with cereals, beverages, motor vehicles and machinery accounting for 93 percent during the same period.
He stated that only 800 million Canadian dollars’ worth of trade occurred between the two countries in 2019, representing 17 hours of trade between Canada and the United States.
“So, I would like to point out that it is time for us to have a change of mindset and think of how we can come together for mutual benefit. We need to do businesses that are technology-enabled, looking at digital technologies like logistics, things that we realise have become more important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
In his remarks, Rob Oliphant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, noted that the two countries currently have “a mutually beneficial relationship that can only be broadened, deepened, lengthened and strengthened.”
Oliphant, who represented the minister, stated that as the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria “is absolutely critical to Canada’.The relationship between Nigeria and Canada is an important one, it remains strong over the past 60 years.
“In recent years, however, we expanded our relationship in several areas, including trade and investment, international systems, education and security,” he said.
According to him, Nigeria is Canada’s second largest goods trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa, and the largest foreign investor from Africa in Canada.