Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria, Pakistan Hold Talks to Review Economic Ties

Nigeria and Pakistan began discussions in Abuja on Monday aimed at improving economic and trade relations between them.

The Minister of State 1, Foreign Affairs, Prof Viola Onwuliri, said at the opening of the Second Joint Ministerial meeting of Nigeria Pakistan Joint Commission (NPJC), expressed satisfaction with the state of bilateral relations between both countries.

She, however, noted their low level of economic relations and pointed out that the last Ministerial meeting of the commission held 22 years ago in Islamabad.

"It is the expectation of this second session that all bilateral issues between our two countries would be discussed and necessary bilateral agreements/MOUs reactivated to further foster the economic bond between our businesses and institutions," she said.

The minister said experts from both countries would in the next two days explore and negotiate some "cluster issues" to boost economic, trade and investment relationships.

She identified areas of negotiations for cooperation between the countries to include petroleum resources, health, defence, higher education and technical training.

She said cooperation in agriculture and agro-allied matters and consular issues would also be discussed during the two-day meeting.

Onwuliri told the Pakistani delegation that Nigeria was the number one investment destination in Africa and had overtaken South Africa as the continent biggest economy.

Her remarks came a day after Nigeria's GDP was rebased and valued at over 500 billion Dollars, making it the 26th largest economy in the world.

Responding, the leader of the Pakistan delegation, Petroleum Minister Shahid Abbasid, expressed delight that the commission's meeting would herald the historic visit of Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain, to Abuja later in the month.

"That visit will improve the already fraternal relations between both countries," he said.

Abbasid said the volume of bilateral annual trade between both countries was less than 100 million Dollars but noted that there are "huge potential to enhance trade volumes between both countries".

NAN

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