Indonesia has urged Nigeria to review its fees for Indonesians to obtain a Nigerian visa to encourage bilateral relations between both countries.
Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Harry Purwanto made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Sunday.
According to the visa application guidelines of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Indonesians visiting Nigeria are required to pay a visa fee of 245 dollars across all entry levels.
Meanwhile, according to the Directorate-General of Immigration under the Ministry of Law and Human Rights of Indonesia, a visit visa fee is 50 dollars while a multiple entry visa is 110 dollars.
The fee for obtaining visas on arrival in Indonesia stands at 35 dollars which applies to 168 countries, excluding Nigeria.
The visa fees, however, apply to all countries.
Purwanto, who reaffirmed the visa fee, said that the cost of applying for visas to Nigeria limits efforts being made to encourage business investment opportunities from Indonesia.
“We are trying to make Nigeria review its visa fee with Indonesia and it is still an ongoing process, because it is limiting our efforts to encourage Indonesians to visit Nigeria.
“Nigeria has to compete with others and the competition is getting tough; attracting the Indonesian business community is not that easy because the Indonesian market is already huge.
“We have a population of 259 million with 150 million considered as the middle class with strong purchasing power; the domestic market is there’’.
He expressed the belief that the younger generation of business community in Indonesia was more progressive and see the world as not limited by the borders.
“That is why we are trying to encourage them to come here and take advantage of the opportunities,” he said.
He emphasised the need for both countries to enhance people-to-people relationship, adding that it would change the perception of citizens of both countries.
“We try to educate the Indonesian community and authority that the real Nigeria is not what they perceive and we want them to come to see with their own eyes.
“After Ebola, the perceptions of Indonesians of West Africa have still not recovered.
Purwanto said on narcotic drugs, the Indonesian media is very powerful and once it is an issue in the media, it is considered to be the truth until there is a counter effect to that.
“There are many people in Indonesia who are not aware that a country like Nigeria exists, likewise in Nigeria that is why we have to encourage people-to-people relations.
“Our offer is not as much as perhaps, those offered by big or influential countries, but I think with the experience of Indonesia it is more suitable for Africa because we are not very far,” he said.
The envoy reiterated Indonesia’s willingness to boost relations with Nigeria and Africa as a whole, adding that “Indonesia takes priority in Nigeria and we want to see more response from Nigeria”.
NAN reports that Nigeria is among the 10 countries that are not eligible for visa-free entry or visa on arrival and need to apply for a visa at an Indonesian Embassy or consulate.
This policy is also called Indonesian Calling Visa.
However, nationals from 168 countries and territories are eligible to enter and remain in Indonesia without a visa for 30 days on tourism purpose only.
The visa-free facility does not allow the change into other permits or visa extension.