Nigeria, Pakistan target $1bn trade volume in 5 years

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ABUJA –  and Pakistan on in Abuja signed a number of agreements to boost bilateral trade from less than $100 million to at least $1 within the next five years.

The deals were concluded on at a bilateral discussion between President Goodluck Jonathan and his Pakistani counterpart, Mr Mamnoon Hussain, who is on a three-day visit to .

Briefing House correspondents after the meeting, Jonathan said the agreements, meant to deepen ties between both countries, covered agriculture, industrial cooperation and cultural exchanges.

“In the next five years or so our target is we should move from under $100 million to at least a dollars. We are out to encourage more robust visits at the highest level.

“So, we have discussed a number of things, a number of issues and will continue to discuss more as we meet the community.

“We are doing all these things to make sure we increase the trade relationship between Pakistan and ,” he said.

According to him, areas in the agreement include trade and commerce, narcotics, anti-terrorism and security, poverty reduction and human capacity development.

Describing the current trade volume between both countries as extremely low, Jonathan said Nigeria and Pakistan were committed to doubling it in the next years.

Jonathan described Hussain’s visit as “historic and extremely important to Nigeria” being the first ever visit by any Pakistan president.

He said that the strong support given to Nigeria by Pakistan during the Nigeria’s quest for non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council attested to the cordial between both countries.

Jonathan assured Hussain that ‘‘Nigeria will reciprocate when it gets to the time of Pakistan.’’

He noted that both countries had high populations and huge natural resources that could be translated into wealth for their citizens if they work together.

“We have just had bilateral discussions which examined issues of common interest. This is quiet significant because just like Nigeria is suffering from terror attacks, Pakistan is also experiencing terror attacks.

“Pakistan and Nigeria have been relating extremely well from the period of our , because Pakistan gained earlier than Nigeria.

“It participated actively in the struggle to make sure that African countries gained .

“Pakistan has been relating very well a number of African countries, they are of so many international bodies, the UN, Commonwealth, D8.

“At all international level Pakistan and Nigeria relate very well,” Jonathan said.

Jonathan further said that he would soon pay a state visit to Pakistan in furtherance of the quest to deepen between both countries.

“Our foreign, defence and trade ministers are also encouraged to be part of such visits. Pakistan has developed in terms of defence and we are also developing.

“In the area of agriculture Pakistan is doing well and of course Nigeria is devoting attention to agriculture and taking it as a , enhancing the agricultural value chain,” he said.

In his remarks Hussain underscored the to institutionalise areas of partnership between Nigeria and Pakistan.

Such areas, he said, included economic, air agreement and exchange of in addition to the agreements on oil and gas, education, agriculture and industrial development.

Hussain said that a Pakistan Commercial Station would be opened in on Wednesday to give fillip to the cooperation efforts between the two . (NAN)