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Nigeria, Pakistan targets $1bn trade volume in five years

By The Citizen
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Nigeria and Pakistan have signed bilateral agreements and memoranda which President Goodluck Jonathan is confident will raise the volume of trade between both countries from a paltry $100 million to $1 billion within a few years.

The deals were reached at a bilateral meeting between Jonathan and President of Pakistan, Maroon Hussain, on Tuesday at the State House, Abuja.

The Pakistani President was in Nigeria for a three-day state visit.

The bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding cover agricultural development, industrial cooperation, cultural exchanges and trade/chambers of commerce,  narcotics, anti-terrorism/security, poverty reduction and human capacity development.

Briefing pressmen after the meeting with the Pakistani leader, Jonathan said despite the good relationship between Nigeria and Pakistan, the volume of trade had remained low at less than $100 million.

The president expressed confidence that with faithful implementation of the bilateral agreements reached, the trade volume would spike in the next few years to not less than $1 billion.

Jonathan accepted Hussain's invitation to visit Pakistan in the future.

He also advised the foreign ministries, military delegations and other relevant agencies of both countries to exchange similar visits and deepen cooperation in all areas.

Jonathan thanked Pakistan for supporting Nigeria's position at several international organisations and fora, including Nigeria's election into the United Nations Non-Permanent Security Council seat.

He assured that Nigeria would reciprocate, especially as Pakistan also maintains good relationships with other African countries.

According to the president, Hussain's visit was important, especially as both countries were experiencing terrorism.

In his remarks, the Pakistani president stressed the need to institutionalise existing economic partnership, air services agreement and exchange of prisoners, in addition to the agreements on oil and gas, education, dairy/agricultural and  industrial development.

Hussain said the opening of a Pakistan Commercial Station in Lagos would enhance the cooperation efforts between both countries, which would extend to enhancing counter-terrorism measures of both countries.