Ambassador Nelson Ocheger, Ugandan High Commissioner to Nigeria

Import Substitution: Envoy urges leaders on consumption of African products

*Ambassador Nelson Ocheger, Ugandan High Commissioner to Nigeria, has advised African leaders to encourage the consumption of goods produced on the continent in view of the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) with the potential to ease facilitation of goods and services

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In a move towards encouraging import substitution and increasing agricultural production on the continent,  Ambassador Nelson Ocheger, Ugandan High Commissioner to Nigeria, has urged African leaders to encourage the consumption of goods produced in Africa.

The envoy stated this an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the ongoing Lagos International Trade Fair (LITF) Tuesday, November 9, 2021, in Lagos.

Ongoing Lagos International Trade Fair

The Fair, which began November 5 and ends November 14 at the Tafawa Balewa Square, in Lagos, has as its theme: “Connecting Businesses, Creating Value.”

There are over 200,000 visitors are expected at the 2021 LITF, while about 1,500 exhibitors from 16 countries are participating in the 35th edition of the Fair.

The Ugandan High Commissioner said: “If you go to most of Nigeria’s markets right now most of the milk products are from Europe or the Arab world, from the Middle East that don’t rear many cows.

“We have a lot of milk in Uganda and there is a market for it here in Nigeria and all over West Africa.

“We want the people here to know that Uganda is able to supply not just Nigeria but the entire West Africa with their milk products such as yoghurt, fresh milk, powdered milk and pasturised milk.”

Ambassador Ocheger explained that his country is participating in the Trade Fair in Lagos in order to  showcase Uganda’s investment opportunities and tourist attractions.

He said Uganda was also showcasing its huge tourism potential at the Fair to attract visitors to the country.

The envoy also noted: “Uganda is showcasing its products in Lagos because we know that there are many traders, many clients, many customers who are not aware of what Uganda is producing.

“That is why we are showcasing milk, we are showcasing coffee, we are showcasing tea and other products we are producing.

“We hope that by the end of this exhibition both the public and private sectors will be able to know what Uganda is producing in terms of goods and services as well as investment opportunities.”

According to Ocheger, the volume of trade between Nigeria and Uganda is about US$8 million to US$10million per annum, which he stated is something that both governments are determined to scale up, going forward.

The High Commissioner said that the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) by both countries would ease facilitation of goods and services.

Uganda and Nigeria have enjoyed cordial bilateral relations and political relations for several decades after independence, said he.

Ocheger added that the governments of both countries are working to improve the relationship for cooperation in areas of commercial and economic diplomacy.

The High Commissioner said apart from the numerous wild life and beautiful lakes and mountains, Uganda was also targeting faith-based tourism, which was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Besides, Ocheger noted that his country has reputable universities, led by Makerere University.

“We have students both in public and private universities and we now have more than 30 private universities.

“As we speak right now, we have over 3,000 Nigerian students studying in Ugandan universities,” the Ugandan High Commissioner to Nigeria said.

6 Nigerian coys to invest in Uganda oil sector, says Ocheger

Meanwhile, Ambassador Ocheger has revealed six Nigerian companies have indicated interest to invest in Uganda oil and gas industry.

According to him, Uganda is set to produce its first oil as early as 2025, and production in the next five years was expected to jump to 230,000 barrels per day, from zero in 2021.

The envoy said: “We have started exploring our oil reserves. We hope that by 2025, we will be able to start selling crude refined in Uganda.

“We are currently constructing a refinery, we are building pipelines and an airport to service that industry in Western Uganda.

“We are expecting to produce and it is very attractive to investors and six Nigerian companies have already shown interest.”

He further disclosed that the projects are being executed using Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model and is attracting investors.

Ocheger also acknowledged that Nigeria remains the biggest oil producer in Africa with vast years of experience in the sector.

Strengthening of ties between Uganda and Nigeria is very important for economic growth and development, he noted.

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