While expressing concerns over very low trade volume between Nigeria and Pakistan despite good political & and diplomatic relations, High Commissioner of Nigeria Mohammed Bello Abioye said that this was mainly due to lack of adequate information about each other, foreign policy-related issues, poor connectivity and delays in visa processing. Still, as some of these issues hindering trade were recently discussed and gradually addressed, the trade volume has started improving. It was likely to go up further.
“Keeping in view the enhanced cooperation between Nigeria and Pakistan, I am fairly optimistic that the two brotherly countries will be able to achieve a trade volume of US$1 billion within a very short time, which is achievable if we fill all the gaps and come closer to each other”, he added while speaking at a meeting during his farewell visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) on completion of his diplomatic tenure in Pakistan.
President KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh, Senior Vice President Altaf A. Ghaffar, Vice President Tanveer Ahmed Barry, Former President Majyd Aziz and KCCI Managing Committee Members were also present.
Nigerian High Commissioner said that keeping view the huge populations of his country and Pakistan, there was a great potential to improve trade and investment cooperation but to achieve the desired results, the existing gaps have to be filled so that the business communities could come closer to explore innumerable trade and investment opportunities in both countries jointly.
He also underscored the need for having a maximum number of exchanges of trade delegations between Nigeria and Pakistan so that more new avenues for enhancing trade and investment cooperation could be identified, in addition to looking into the possibilities of undertaking joint ventures either in Nigeria or Pakistan which would prove favourable for both the economies.
“It is a well-known fact worldwide that Karachi is the financial and commercial hub of Pakistan, which is the basic reason why the Nigerian High Commission has always maintained close ties with KCCI as it is the leading trade body of this city which is actively contributing towards the economic development by working closely with friendly countries for trade and investment enhancement”, he said while appreciating the hospitality, support and cooperation extended by all his friends and well-wishers in Karachi throughout his tenure.
He informed that the Nigerian High Commission has made it a policy matter to process all visa applications within 48 hours. Hundreds of visas were being issued to Pakistanis within this timeframe. “We would also like to see Pakistani authorities reciprocating a similar approach for issuing visas to Nigerians.”
Nigerian HC opined that there were abundant opportunities available in Pakistan for Nigerian businesses whereas Nigeria can also offer good trade and investment opportunities to Pakistani businessmen who must take advantage of the situation. “Foreign investors in Nigeria are allowed full repatriation of profits and many other incentives including low taxes, tax holidays and lots of other facilities.”
Earlier, President KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh, while warmly welcoming the Nigerian High Commissioner, congratulated the Envoy on successful completion of his tenure in Pakistan and appreciated his impactful role in enhancing business and trade relationship between the two countries.
He said that Pakistan’s Look Africa Policy can accelerate trade and strengthen economic ties with Nigeria, which will facilitate Pakistan-Nigeria businessmen to explore new markets for bilateral economic integrations.
President KCCI stressed that Pakistan and Nigeria should develop strong trade and economic ties through the exchange of trade delegations, and continuous liaison with businesses. “People-to-people and business-to-business relations between the two countries can be enhanced by launching direct flights between Pakistan and Nigeria.”
He was of the opinion that great potential exists for exporting textiles, rice, pharmaceuticals, surgical instruments, electrical appliances, processed food, cosmetic & beauty products, leather goods, IT products, and financial services to Nigeria and the African market. “Nigeria also offers a huge market for Pakistani food products including cereal, sugar, confectionaries, dairy products and fertilizers.”
Iftikhar Sheikh further advised Nigerian investors to capitalize on exciting investment opportunities in Pakistan’s various sectors such as the energy sector, renewables, food security, industrial & sports, tourism and hospitality etc. “Pakistan is known for its textile products, sports goods, surgical instruments, rice, carpets, footwear and many other consumable items, which still need to be properly introduced in the African markets”, he said, adding that reciprocal participation in trade fairs and exhibitions would be a great way for the business community of both countries to explore new trade avenues and promotion strategies.
President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh presenting crest to High Commissioner of Nigeria Mohammed Bello Abioye during his visit to KCCI. Senior Vice President KCCI Altaf A. Ghaffar, Former President KCCI Majyd Aziz and others are also seen in the picture.