The participation of Nigerian businesses at the forthcoming Dubai Expo could fetch the country a whopping sum of $23bn.
The Director, Commodity and Export Department in the Ministry, Mr. Suleman Audu, said this on Thursday in Abuja at a media roundtable.
He said the Dubai forum was another good opportunity for states and Small and Medium Enterprises to cement business relationship.
He spoke just as the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Maryam Katagum, said that the federal government is working towards increasing the non-oil trade volume between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates.
The non-oil trade volume stood at $1.45bn in 2019, as part of its economic diversification efforts.
In light of this, the Minister encouraged businesses within the country to take advantage of the forthcoming Expo 2020 Dubai to meet the large demand for non-oil products in the United Arab Emirates.
Katagum said, “With regards to non-oil trade volume between the two countries, as you know Nigeria is on the part of diversification so as we keep telling our entrepreneurs the UAE is an open market for Nigerian businesses, there is great demand for non-oil product. It is a big to opportunity to fill in the demand gap.
She stated that the expo will provide a platform for enterprises in various sectors to showcase their products to the world.
On his part, the Director of Trade, FMITI, A.M Abubakar noted that while the FG has developed frameworks and forums of engagement that will promote higher non-oil exports to the UAE, more needs to be done to expand trade between both countries.
“We have a major policy goal which is diversification of the economy. So we want to promote non-oil exports to United Emirates and already we have a framework of engagement, and also different forums for engagement.
“We can do more, one of the things we can do is inward and outward trade delegations between the two countries. Nigeria going to the UAE and Emirates coming here to do business,” he said.
Speaking further on the benefits of the expo to SMEs, the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Fahad Taffaq said that grants worth thousands of dollars will be provided to SMEs to develop innovative ideas and university students for research purposes.
Taffaq said,“With regards to SMEs expo, it has a component called Expo lite. Within these components, there are various programmes, where participants submit their proposals are provided with grants of $100,000 each, to bring innovation ideas to the programme.
“There is also the university innovation programme, which provides grants of $50,000 to university students to research and develop solution to some of the world’s problems.”
The Expo 2020 Dubia is expected to commence on October 1st and run for six months to March 31st, 2022.