By Edith Ike-Eboh
Abuja – Mr Alessandro Gerbino, Trade Commissioner, Italian Trade Agency (ITA), on Saturday said the Italian government was ready to invest in Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
Gerbino said this at an investment dinner in Abuja.
According to him, investing in the agricultural sector will be part of Italy’s effort to strengthen trade relations with Nigeria.
He said that as Italy was known for transformation of raw materials, the Agency would focus on the agricultural sector in dealing with Nigeria.
“Our priorities are agro industrial and food processing machineries, packaging, storage and everything from the field to the super market.
“Italy is famous for being able to certify a perfect combination of technology that goes from the source to the consumer at the highest performance,’’ he said.
Gerbino said that Nigeria had many raw materials that could be processed with the technologies and machineries that Italy would bring as partners.
“Italy is a country that made its fortune on its ability to transform raw materials.
“Italy does not have its own raw materials, but is one of the big economies in the world.
“We have achieved and transformed raw materials that we source because we develop the technology and also sell the technology abroad to our competitors in some areas.
“Nigeria has raw materials and wants to diversify its economy, and the thing that comes to my mind is that Italy has high performing machinery to produce high quality products.
”The products that can be used or exported to rich markets overseas,’’ he said.
In the Oil and Gas sector, Gerbino said that Italy was present with ENI (oil prospecting and gas company) adding that efforts were being made to provide assistance, not only in extraction but also in the downstream.
He said that by March 30, Italy would hold investment forum in Milan that would focus on oil and gas
Gerbino said that some Nigerian companies had already been invited to attend the forum.
On increase of cooperation of businesses between Nigeria and Italy, he said the agency had sent many Nigerian companies to meet Italian suppliers from the same sectors.
”There are Nigerian companies that were in Milan for textile industry last week, there were other companies that had visited Italian producers of technology for the agro Industrial area.
“Next week, another group of companies is leaving for Talin and Leather processing technologies.
“And in March, we are having Italian delegation coming to Nigeria for event in the plastic and packing technologies,” he said.
According to him, the event will be backed with exhibition with first official Italian Pavilion in Nigeria.
”We are sure of having a lot of attentions from Nigerian Companies.
”We are sure also of receiving visitors from Nigerian Companies seeking Italian supplier’s technology,” he said.
Gerbino said the event slated to hold between March 24, and March 27, would have about 10 to 15 companies with industrial associations in participation.
He said that the current trade volume between Nigeria and Italy was two billion Euros, adding that the country had the intention to increase it.
“The trade is about 2 billion Euros but I know for sure that our market share in Nigeria is below average meaning that we will definitely do better.
“This means that there are opportunities for Italian companies and Nigerian companies to do business,’’ he said.
In his remark, the Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Stefano Pontesilli, said that the country was ready to increase its trade volume in Nigeria.
He said that Nigeria remained a prime country with its great potential saying, “ this year we have had a 10 per cent increase in trade volume and last year we had a 30 per cent increase.
“So it is going up and that is what matters. It is not as much volume but it is the trend that matters. So we are doing a good job,’’ he said.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Italian Trade Agency (ITA) is the Governmental agency that supports the business development of the nation’s companies abroad and promotes the attraction of foreign investments in Italy.