Tehran (Iran) – Nigerian Charge de Affairs in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr Ali Magashi, said efforts had been intensified to address the trade imbalance between Nigeria and Iran.
Magashi, who spoke to newsmen after playing host to President Muhammadu Buhari, who was in Iran to attend the 3rd Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), in Tehran, Iran, noted that the balance of trade between the two countries tilted against Nigeria.
According to him, Nigeria imports more from Iran as the country remains a closed-state, importing less from the outside world.
“Countries normally have relations for much more than economic reason. We have relations for political reasons, for other reasons.
“But, economically, Nigeria and Iran I can say that our relations are very good, we have interaction economically.
“They sell products to us and we also sell some things to them. But we learnt a lot from them. In terms of balance of trade, the balance of trade is against Nigeria.
“They sell more to us than we sell to them and that is what the mission is trying to adjust, that is what Nigeria is now trying to address so that Iranians can buy more from Nigeria so that the difference in the balance of trade will not be so much’’, he said.
Magashi, who advised that the Nigerian mission in Iran should be sustained in spite the trade imbalance in favour of Iran, maintained that relationships between countries should not be evaluated solely on the balance of trade.
He, therefore, counseled that the Nigerian mission in Iran should be kept because of some other advantages accruable to Nigeria.
According to the Charge de Affaires, Nigeria stands to gain from the technical and technological advancement of Iran, saying that the diplomatic relations with the Gulf state would benefit Nigeria on the world stage.
He said the cooperation between Nigeria and Iran, especially in the area of developing the Nigeria’s gas resources and technology transfer remained unquantifiable.
“It is desirable for Nigeria to maintain its Embassy in Iran because Nigeria and Iran have a very good relation and if you look at the position of Nigeria viz-a-viz West Africa or Africa, Nigeria is a leader in the region.
“Iran is also a leader in the Middle East region or the Gulf region.
“So, it is good to keep relations with Iran, especially, now that we have a large population of Nigerians, those who are studying and those who are here privately.
“And also because this Mission is in charge of other countries; we have concurrent accreditation with three other countries.
“So, if you close this mission, you are closing all Nigerians that need assistance from these three countries, namely; Kazakhstan, Armenia and Azerbaijan’’, he said.
On Buhari’s visit to Tehran, Magashi described the it as very successful, saying that all his slated programmes and appointments were diligently met. “The visit was very successful.
“The president came, all his programmes were on time; all what he needed to do he has done. He had been here before and he has compared himself with the time when he came before the revolution to now in 2015.
“He has seen great developmental efforts that had been made by his host country. They have really developed both in terms of technology and otherwise’’, he said. (NAN)