jain sanjayChairman of the Indian Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAI) – Nigeria Chapter, who is also connected with many social organizations in Nigeria, shares his views on various issues affecting the India-Nigeria relationship and other relevant issues in this interview with BusinessDay . Juan Osadolor. Jain is involved in many charitable and social activities through these organizations. He is Chairman of the Indian Cultural Association and Jain International Trade Organization (JITO), as well as Vice President of the Rajasthani Samaj, among others.


Would you say that the Indian community in Nigeria had a good run in the year 2022?

Yes, for that matter, I would say that not only the Indian community but all the other communities as well as the Nigerian population had a good run in the year 2022. The main reason behind that was that we got a lot of relief from COVID -19 and that made everyone’s life so much easier than it was during the pandemic period.

The negative impacts of the pandemic on daily life and business became much less, giving people the leeway to go about their normal lives and do whatever they wanted. International travel became the norm and all of these brought great relief to the international community as well as the Nigerian people.

There was a time when both India and Nigeria were on the same scale of development, are they still called developing nations on the same scale today?

First of all, India and Nigeria are developing countries. Both are developing at a rapid pace. There may be small differences in scale, but that is because India became independent 13 years before Nigeria. Furthermore, each country has a different base depending on its geographical location, the habits of its population, the type of food they consume, natural resources, etc. So India is doing well in its own segment, as is Nigeria.

Is the number of Indian residents in Nigeria increasing or decreasing? Why have Indians found a home to live in Nigeria?

In the recent past, due to Covid-19, it is generally felt that the number of Indians has decreased. Not only Indians but also other nationals. This is a very normal phenomenon. The thinking style changed in everyone’s mind. But I strongly believe that as the world is coming out of the fear of Covid-19, people will start to travel as usual and the numbers may increase.

This is a great compliment to Indians and Nigerians when you ask this question why Indians find Nigeria a home to live. Congratulations to the Indians: for leaving their own country and coming here to work, contributing to the economic development of the host country and earning a living in the process. Kudos to the Nigerian people – because you have welcomed us with open arms, you have shown warmth in interacting with us and it has encouraged us to come and stay here. That has made us feel at home away from home. This needs a lot of praise for our Nigerian brothers.

Another reason why business is lucrative in Nigeria is that it is the largest country in Africa with a population of over 200 million. And that does give a huge number of customers very easily. Although, like in any other country, there are challenges that the government tries to address from time to time.

As the person running the affairs of a company, what has it been like to do business in Nigeria in recent years?

In general, the scope of various businesses has increased in Nigeria. The reason behind this is the Nigerian federal government’s push in encouraging local manufacturing/production facilities. Therefore, many manufacturing facilities are being started.

Another reason why business is lucrative in Nigeria is that it is the largest country in Africa with a population of over 200 million. And that does give a huge number of customers very easily. Although, like in any other country, there are challenges that the government tries to address from time to time.

Nigeria is on the cusp of another general election, some Indians have been naturalized, some have even lived for over 30 years like you, what can you say generally about the Nigerian elections?

This is excellent news. When and in any country, if general elections are held according to the established schedule, it indicates that the democratic processes are strong and well established. There is a favorable environment for the elections to be held on time.

On the other hand, we have seen how the primaries of the parties take place and the best candidates emerge as presidential candidates. All candidates are highly experienced and experienced leaders. Whoever wins, it will be a win for Nigerians as I see them having a great amount of zeal to do good for Nigeria and Nigerians.

Also Read: 135 Indian Firms Invest $19 Billion In Nigeria, Says Envoy

The Indian community participated during the fight against COVID 19 in Nigeria. Are you happy that the pandemic has subsided and what is your opinion about it today?

Yes, you are right. The Indian community participated in a big way in the fight against Covid-19 in Nigeria. We did many projects: free food distribution to the needy, installation of ‘No Touch’ hand washing machines, free oxygen support, many awareness campaigns, distribution of free face masks to stop the threat and others. Even the Indian government sent 1 million doses of vaccines to Nigeria. We are all happy that the impact of Covid -19 has drastically decreased.

Recently, we heard that it is appearing again in some countries and therefore one should be careful once again. I am sure that the Federal Government must be evaluating the situation and at the moment it will put the brakes and controls to protect itself from it. I feel like it’s time to stay cautious and start wearing the face mask, at least.

This is the start of a new year, do you have a goodwill message?

Definitely yes. The year 2022: the year of recovery has now become the ‘last year’. In the New Year, let’s get energized and make a vow to stay positive and achieve whatever goal one sets for himself without resting and working hard to succeed.

Surprisingly some Americans have taken an interest in Nigerian languages, as have the British, but the Indians here seem to be uninterested in Nigerian languages, which do you think is responsible for this?

It is not that they are not interested in Nigerian languages. Indians are also interested in learning the local languages. We have some Indians who are fluent in Yoruba and Hausa. But yes, there can be differences in the level of interest in learning the Nigerian language compared to Americans and British. But this is also because we find that the majority of the Nigerian population speaks English and that makes life much easier for the entire expat community. They can communicate very effectively with people in the host community. This is another Nigerian beauty that attracts foreigners and helps keep them here. At the same time, the need to learn the Nigerian language does not become a priority.