Accra, April 11 (IANS) Falling crude oil prices hit trade between India and Nigeria last year as imports from the African nation dwindled to $9.94 billion from the previous year's $13.68 billion, down by 27 per cent, the Indian High Commission said.
The bilateral trade was also affected as it declined by 25 per cent from $16.36 billion recorded during the 2014-15 financial year to $12.17 billion last year.
The High Commission said: "After a steady increase of India's exports to Nigeria for the past few years, the period from April 2015 to March 2016 witnessed a 17 per cent decline in our exports."
The figure fell to $2.22 billion from $2.68 billion during the corresponding period in 2014-15, and the commission attributed this to dwindling oil prices, fall of the Nigerian local currency and other ongoing economic challenges.
"The Nigerian economy has entered into recession for the first time in over the last three decades, as it recorded negative growth rate of 2.06 per cent in the second quarter of 2016," the High Commission said.
"With contraction in two consecutive quarters (first and second Quarter), Nigerian economy has officially slipped into recession. In the first Quarter, economy had contracted by 0.36 per cent. Inflation has also increased to 17.1 per cent in July 2016," it said.
The Nigerian economy maintained a sustained economic growth of around seven per cent during 2004-14.
The economy, the High Commission said, grew by 6.3 per cent in 2014. However, the growth rate slumped to 2.7 per cent in 2015, which is the weakest level of growth for Nigeria since 1999.
"The slump is due to declining oil prices which adversely impacted Nigerian growth as the country relies on crude export for two-thirds of its revenue," the High Commission added.
In spite of this, the High Commission last year facilitated the opening of the Nigeria Chapter of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry, a national Apex Chamber (ASSOCHAM) with its headquarters in New Delhi, as well as the Nigeria Chapter of India-Nigeria Business Promotion Council.
The Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) in association with Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India and High Commission of India, Nigeria, also held a show in Lagos in July last year which was attended by 11 prominent Indian automotive companies registered with ACMA.
The High Commission said: "Indian presence in Nigeria was essentially economic and began with textiles and trading sectors, but got constantly diversified."
"With a population of about 180 million and considerable revenue from oil exports, Nigeria is the largest trading partner of India in Africa. Indian companies have sizeable investments in textiles, chemicals, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, plastics, fishing, and power transmission lines," it said.
(Francis Kokutse can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)