Windhoek - Namibia will make the most of the upcoming visit by the President Goodluck Jonathan to discuss ways of setting up an oil refinery in the Southern African country.
Namibian Minister of Industry, Calle Schletwein, said in an interview that the two countries would have their trade representatives engaging to map the way forward in facilitating trade and finalising the pending issue of the oil refinery.
“We will have an engagement with the Nigerian business delegation that will accompany their president to Namibia to find ways of improving trade relations. We will also take advantage of the engagements to discuss progress made in the erection of an oil refinery in Namibia by the Nigerians. We need to find ways of engaging in separate ways that will not infringe on the current customs unions that we belong to."
"It is important to note that as Namibia we are a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and Nigeria negotiates with us through the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). These have been the setback in the two countries improving trade and we are both supporting the implementation of the Free Trade Area in Africa that will facilitate free movement of goods,” Schlettwein said.
Nigeria has mooted plans to erect an oil refinery in Namibia but the plan has taken long to materialise because of the winding bilateral channels that had to be followed.
Jonathan will be the guest of honour at the 24th Namibian independence celebrations.
Although Namibia and Nigeria have binding bilateral engagements, trade between the two countries has been low.
Schlettwein said the forthcoming engagement with Nigerian counterparts could go a long way in bridging the gap.
Meanwhile, Schlettwein also revealed that the Nigerians were also keen on importing Namibian salt to satisfy domestic market needs.
– CAJ News