Metro Iran Offers to Boost Nigeria's Electricity Supply


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Mr Saeed Koozechi, the Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria on Monday said Iran was willing to offer assistance on nuclear technology to boost Nigeria's electricity supply.

Koozechi, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said the country would only offer the assistance upon request from Nigeria.

``If there is any official request from Nigeria, there is possibility for cooperation between the Iranian Atomic Agency and its Nigerian counterpart.’’

The ambassador was speaking ahead of the 5th session of Nigeria-Iranian Joint Commission on June 19 and 20 in Abuja.

He said that the Iranian government had dispatched a 25-man business delegation to the meeting to boost trade and economic ties with Nigeria.

According to him, the delegation led by Iran's Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Mehdi Ghazanfari, is comprised of government officials and the private sector.

``They will explore investments in the automobile, mass housing, pharmaceutical, power, engineering and furniture sectors in Nigeria,’’ he said.

Koozechi, who said Nigeria and Iran had maintained close and friendly relations, expressed concern over the low level of trade between both countries.

He said the current annual volume of trade between both countries amounted to less than 50 million dollars.

``Iranian annual foreign trade is more than 150 billion dollars and I think Nigeria has almost the same level.

``We can allocate at least five to 10 per cent of this balance of foreign trade to both countries given our membership in organisations such as OPEC and D8.

``For instance bilateral trade with Turkey which is a member of the D8 is close to 15 billion dollars annually and this means that Nigeria and Iran can cooperate more to improve their trade ties,’’ he said.

He blamed the low level in trade between both countries on ``negative psychological perception about Iran’’ from some Nigerian businesses, occasioned by the UN sanctions because of its nuclear programme.

``The establishment of Iranian businesses in Nigeria and the joint commission meeting is one of the ways to change this psychological perception about Iran.

``We are also planning to have more Iranian exhibition in different cities in Nigeria, including Abuja and Lagos, to promote investments in the country,’’ he said.

Koozechi said officials of both countries were finalising negotiations on some agreements that would be signed at the end of the Joint commission meeting on Friday.

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