By Bukar Bolori
The Ambassador of Indonesia to Nigeria, Usra Harahap has revealed that Nigeria and Indonesia are headed for a milestone agreement in their bilateral defence cooperation.
The Ambassador made this revelation on Tuesday in Abuja during a chat with journalists. He said: “There is a milestone in this cooperation, especially when our two countries are ready to sign the Bilateral Defence Cooperation. This indicates that our two countries are ready, to continue, to increase the level of cooperation as well as developing a new era of collaboration in defense cooperation and defense industry.”
He added that: “We have agreed on several activities such as exchange visits of high ranking and operational level officials, promotion of education and training cooperation, promotion of defence industries between the parties, sharing of information and intelligence and other areas of cooperation that may be mutually agreed upon.”
He said: “I am also delighted to inform you that to enrich the wider scope of collaboration, Indonesian Private Defense Industry Association to be called PINHANTANAS would also want to play its part to fulfill the needs of security and defense organisation in the fields of security defense equipment, maintenance, and care services for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Taking into account the strategic aspect of procuring defense and security equipment, I see that there is an opportunity to use a counter-trade mechanism in exchange of the products of Indonesia’s strategic industries with the crude oil that Indonesia has so far purchased from Nigeria
“Indonesia and Nigeria have taken bold steps to sign the military and defense cooperation in the form of a Letter of Intent. Currently, communication is carried out by the Nigerian Ministry of Defense, especially concerning the technicalities of signing the Letter of Intent. It is hoped that the signing ceremony will be held in 2022.
The Ambassador also disclosed that in the the last six years, the trade volume between the two countries has increased.
He said “where in 2016 it reached USD 1.59 billion and in 2021 it increased to USD 2.46 billion.”
He added that: “However, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, there has been a drastic decline from USD 2.34 billion in 2019 to USD 1.2 billion in 2020. But as stated above, the trade volume has increased significantly in 2021.”
He said: “So far, in the trade balance between the two countries, Indonesia has experienced a deficit due to the large imports of oil and gas from Nigeria. Indonesia’s main exports to Nigeria are CPO and its derivatives, clothing, food, paper products, pharmaceuticals, electronics, plastics, soaps, and lubricating oils.
“Meanwhile, Indonesia’s main imports from Nigeria are petroleum products, cotton, cocoa, and leather raw materials.”
He said: “There are about 25 Indonesian companies that have invested and have trade contacts in Nigeria.”