Nigeria and Vietnam have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on waiver of visa requirements to encourage business trade. The agreement on visa waiver comes amidst Vietnam’s plea that Nigeria should open its borders for Vietnamese rice, leather shoes, textiles, and other products.
The Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam, Vuong Hue had met with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during his recent visit to Nigeria. The meeting led to both countries strengthening their diplomatic relations and business ties by agreeing to a visa waiver for holders of valid diplomatic and official passports.
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada, disclosed that Vietnam and Nigeria had “signed an agreement on waiving visa for people carrying diplomatic passports,”. Dada added that the Vietnam delegation also met with individuals in trade, commerce and investment in Nigeria.
Nigeria, Vietnam to set up bilateral commission
In order to cement talks held during the Vietnam delegates’ visit to Nigeria, Osinbajo said a bilateral commission would be established for Nigeria and Vietnam. He, however, did not disclose when the commission will be set up.
Both Hue and Osinbajo agreed on boosting cooperation in business, trade and investment and many other factors that ties both countries together. According to Osinbajo, “This visit is very significant because we will be looking at the possibility of setting up a bilateral commission between Vietnam and Nigeria so that we can concretise the existing areas of cooperation that we discussed.”
Rice talk threatens business ties
Despite the MOU signed to approve visa waiver, the countries’ business ties seem to be in a dicey situation. Nigeria’s border closure is affecting Vietnam, and this is one of the reasons for Hue’s visit to Nigeria.
Benin is one of Vietnam’s rice market
If Nigeria continues to close its borders against Benin, Vietnam rice won’t be able to enter the Nigerian market. More so, if the Federal Government takes the path of the ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC) Chairman’s statement, who rejected Vietnam’s plea, the cocoa and cashew exporters in Nigeria might likely bear the brunt as previously reported by Nairametrics.
According to NBS data, Nigeria exported N13 billion worth of cashew nuts and raw cocoa beans to Vietnam in just three months (April – June 2019). If Nigeria insists on shutting its land border, this could lead to an imbalanced trade, provoking Vietnam to prevent Nigeria’s cocoa and cashew from entering its country. That means exporters could lose about N13 billion or more in trade to the border issue.