Islamabad, MAY 6: /DNA/ – Nigeria wants to increase bilateral trade with Pakistan to at least US$ 3 billion as both countries have the potential to achieve this target. This was said by Hadi Sirika, Minister for Aviation of Nigeria while addressing the business community during his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Capt. Nuhu Musa Director General Civil Aviation Authority of Nigeria, Capt. Modibo Alkali Rector Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Bolaji Alkali Director Trade and Investment Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, H.E Muhammad Bello Abio High Commissioner of Nigeria to Pakistan and others also accompanied him on the occasion.
The Nigerian Aviation Minister said that his country enjoys bilateral trade of around US$ 15 billion with India and over US$ 4 billion with Indonesia and it wants to further increase trade with Pakistan as both countries are a huge market of nearly half a billion people. He said that Nigeria is working for direct flights with Pakistan that would help improve people to people and business to business relations between the two countries. He said that Nigeria is also interested in strengthening cooperation with Pakistan in transportation, tourism, trade & commerce, industry and other sectors. He said that Pakistani investors should invest in Nigeria to take advantage of its tax holidays and free economic zones.
Speaking on the occasion, Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) said that the bilateral trade of around US$ 114 million between Pakistan and Nigeria is quite negligible as compared to the actual potential of both countries. He stressed that Pakistan and Nigeria should make efforts to increase their bilateral trade to at least US$ 3 billion in the next few years as both countries have potential to achieve this target. He said that Pakistan can export many products to Nigeria and other African countries including textiles, rice, pharmaceuticals, surgical instruments, electrical appliances, processed food, cosmetic & beauty products, leather goods, IT products, financial services. He said that both countries should encourage regular exchange of business delegations to explore all untapped areas of mutual cooperation and said that ICCI would consider taking a delegation to Nigeria in future. He hoped that the start of direct flights between Pakistan and Nigeria would help increase bilateral trade volume and urged that both governments should put this project on fast track to achieve its beneficial results.
Capt. Nuhu Musa Director General Civil Aviation Authority of Nigeria, Capt. Bolaji Alkali Director Trade and Investment Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria and H.E Muhammad Bello Abio High Commissioner of Nigeria to Pakistan also spoke at the occasion and stressed for increasing trade and investment cooperation with Pakistan.
Zafar Bakhtawari, former President ICCI and Secretary General UBG said that Pakistan and Nigeria are facing some common issues including terrorism, bad press and stressed that they should develop close cooperation to tackle these common issues.