The Republic of Lithuania is seeking economic partnership with Nigeria in areas of agriculture and food processing to boost both nations’ agricultural sector and also forge stronger bilateral trade relationships.
The Honorary Consul, Republic of Lithuania, Mr. Goodie Ibru, explained that some of the perishable food crops produced in Nigeria rot away as a result of lack of food processing facilities in the country, calling on Nigerian entrepreneurs to partner Lithuania on areas of food processing so as to prevent food waste and the attendant economic loss.
Ibru during the 2014 Lithuanian National Day celebration in Lagos added that the country is well known for its agricultural activities and competences and urge Nigeria to explore robust partnership with Lithuania.
He said this would be a good way to diversify Nigeria from the present unsustainable dependence on oil and gas.
“This will help to save Nigeria’s foreign exchange which it uses to import food. Nigeria has no business importing food because a huge part of our land is still uncultivated. A strong partnership between Lithuania and Nigerian entrepreneurs will help to correct this,” he said.
Ibru said when farmers produce perishable food crops, most of it rot away because of the lack of capacity to process these crops, causing huge economic waste for the country.
According to him, at the moment, the volume of trade between. Nigeria and Lithuania is still low but stressed that as time goes on, Nigerians we begin to see and understand the importance of synergising with their counterparts in western Europe thereby boosting trade between both countries.
He pointed out that Lithuania is consistently becoming very visible in socio-economic life of Europe and the world over maintaining that since July 2013, Lithuania has held the rotating Presidency of the council of European Union, and was elected in the same year to United Nations Security Council.
He noted that according to the United Nations Human Development Index report, Lithuania is a very high human development country and has been among the fastest growing economies in the European Union ranked 17th in the world in the ease of doing business index.
“Lithuania’s economy has risen to the status of mostly free achieving its highest economic freedom score over in the 2014 index. It is ranked 11th out of 43 countries in the European region, and its overall score is well above the world and regional averages,” he said.
He stated that despite the challenging economic situation, Lithuania has demonstrated a commitment to restoring the soundness of public finance and the credibility of its policies, bringing down government spending through deficit-cutting efforts which had helped to sustain the momentum for economic recovery.
“The national currency, litas has been pegged to Euro since February 2, 2002 at the rate of Euro 1,000 to LTR 3.4528 and Lithuania is expecting to switch to Euro on January 1, 2015,” he said.
The Consul also noted that Lithuania has established diplomatic relations with 149 countries and also a member of the European Union and many other international organisations.
He added that the past few years have witnessed positive developments and improved relations between the republic of Lithuania and Nigeria hoping that both countries will continue to explore all avenues for social, political and economic collaboration between the two countries.