LAHORE, (APP): High Commissioner of Nigeria Maj General (Retd) Ashimiyu Adebayo Olaniyi said on Saturday that huge untapped potential of his country could be explored through joint ventures between the private sectors of the two countries.
The Nigerian government would extend maximum cooperation to achieve the goal of economic prosperity, he added. Talking to LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid, Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid and Executive Committee Members here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he said that low volume of the bilateral trade demands extraordinary efforts from the businessmen of the two countries.
The Nigerian HC invited the Pakistani businessmen to enter into joint ventures with their Nigerian counterparts in the fields of agriculture, textile and manufacturing. He said that easing of visa process between the two countries could increase the bilateral trade in shortest possible time.
“Nigeria is one of the major member states of African Union. It is classified as an emerging market rapidly approaching to middle income status. However, this relationship has not been translated into tangible economic ties because Nigeria unfortunately does not figure prominently among the trading partners of Pakistan,” he added. He mentioned that Nigeria and Pakistan shared a lot of commonalities, and the two countries enjoyed unique geographical locations, which were strategic in their respective continents.
Both also shared other things in common, including the population and its diversity. However, in spite of these commonalities, the economic relations between Nigeria and Pakistan was low compared with the size and endowments both countries possessed in terms of human and natural resources. The current trade volume between Nigeria and Pakistan is about US$500 million,” Nigerian High Commissioner concluded.
LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that Pakistan did consider the value of strengthening the trade and economic relations with Nigeria keeping in view the big market of Africa. He said that Pakistan and Nigeria were also members of Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and had friendly and strong diplomatic relations.
Other than maintaining steady trade relations, Pakistan had greatly been contributing to fulfilling the defence requirements of Nigeria. He said that the downward trend in exports of Pakistan to Nigeria and overall downfall in bilateral trade was a matter of concern and “We need to find reasons for this trend and also take measures to turn around the situation.”
Major export items from Pakistan to Nigeria are medicament mixtures, cotton fabrics, woven fabric of synthetic fibre, tractors, garments, and electro-medical apparatus etc. Items of import from Nigeria to Pakistan comprise cotton, raw hides & skins, pharmaceutical products and articles of rubber etc.
“Pakistan can export rice, electrical appliances, auto- parts etc. even at much competitive rates,” he said and stressed the need for identifying more tradable products to enhance mutual trade. The LCCI president said that frequent exchange of trade delegations, continuous liaison and exchange of information could prove important instruments to strengthen our trade and investment relations.