Nigeria’s Consul General, South Africa, Malik Abdul, says the trade volume between Africa’s largest economy and Africa’s most industrialised economy amounted to $2.9 billion last year, despite the coronavirus pandemic with the expectation that it will rise further with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
In a statement, Abdul noted that Nigeria accounts for 64 per cent of South Africa’s trade in West Africa, and South Africa is one of Nigeria’s top three sources of crude oil.
He also noted that last year, South Africa imported R35 billion ($2.48 billion) worth of goods, mainly crude oil from Nigeria, and exported R6 billion ($425milion) to Nigeria.
The Consulate added that his embassy issued a total of 10,341 passports to Nigerians in South Africa between March 2020 and May 2021.
The Consul General further said the Mission has over 400 unclaimed passports, and has urged everyone whose passports were processed and pending from last year August to come for collection.
He added that the consulate was working to clear all COVID-19 lockdown backlog of applications. He has also advised the public to exercise patience while the mission resolved the backlogs.
Regarding the re-introduction of administrative fees and charges for lost passports, Abdul said that the step was taken to harmonise and standardise consular services following approval from Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja.
The Mission also increased the fees for misplaced passports from R1,500 to R2,000, and admin charges of R120 for data capturing.
According to the Nigerian envoy, the decision was taken to remove differences in all consular services, noting that visa fees have also been matched.
On the consequence for lost passports, Abdul disclosed that 484 Nigerian passports were reported missing at the mission between August 2020 and May 2021 with request for re-issue.
The Envoy said it was discovered that there were criminal undertones and immigration rules infractions associated with the ‘so-called’ lost passport declarations.
Abdul disclosed that the consulate had received an instruction to halt the processing of lost passports pending further instructions from the headquarters.