Media reportage of insecurity impedes Nigeria, Pakistan trade relation – Danladi
Ambassador Dauda Danladi is the Nigerian High Commissioner to Pakistan. In this interview he speaks on how media reports on the security situation in both countries scared investors leading to low bilateral trade between the two countries. He also announced that the first joint ministerial commission’s meeting of both countries is starting in Abuja today where a number of bilateral agreements will be debated upon and signed later this month when Pakistan president will be visiting Nigeria. Excerpt. foreign exchange to import textile contribution to the bilateral materials. In 2013 alone we spent relations between the two over $6 billion in importation countries because it has been of textile materials and you see more of Pakistan doing this or the textile industries are avenue that for Nigeria? to generate huge employment I think we have to look at it opportunity because an average in a broader sense. One, at multi textile firm we get about 15 lateral level, the trade volume is thousand people working for about $150 billion am talking it, so if we can have two textile about the D8 countries. At industries in each geo political bilateral level, what Nigeria has zone of the country we would been offering Pakistan, one is the be getting close to 700 thousand market. Nigeria has huge market employment opportunity with potentials and if you capture the multiply effect of it on the Nigerian market you capture local community as well as on the the entire African market. If distributors and retailers. they have the technology and
At the end of the day, we we have the resources we can will also look at the bilateral air collaborate to produce and service agreement so that we can capture the Nigerian market have direct flights between both instead of importing goods into countries for easy movement of Nigeria. Secondly, Nigeria is rich people and goods. All things been in oil and gas and Pakistan is equal, we are expecting again facing serious energy crisis even for the first time in the history of though they produced 23,000 Nigeria the visit of the Pakistani mega watts of electricity but president to Nigeria hopefully by because of industrialization they the end of April and that visit will require a lot of energy and that is now translate into the signing of another area we offer incentive of whatever agreement that would opportunity to Pakistan. Again have been reached during the Pakistan is interested in our palm joint commission meeting. oil, we were exporting cotton
With the military cooperation sometimes back to feed the textile between the two countries, in industries but as you know cotton what ways are they helping production swindled as a result each other to address insecurity of our concentration on mono challenges especially terrorism? commodity which is oil. They
A lot has been achieved in are interested in our hide and the area of military cooperation skin and our clay. So if we can and we have an existing number join hands it will be a win win of understandings and from the situation for both countries. 80s till now a lot of our military Aside having a joint textile officers have received various factory to produce police trainings in Pakistan. Recently uniforms and other materials inspector general of police was and training of Nigerian military in Pakistan who held discussion officers, in what other way with his counterpart and visited can Pakistan assist Nigeria in a lot of training institutions. tackling insurgency and internal An offer for the training of the insecurity? Nigerian police has been made Pakistan donated some especially on various aspect of communication equipments counter terrorism and soon as recently to the Nigerian police. As the MoU is finalized some of our you know policing, maintenance officers will be receiving their of security to a large extent will trainings in Pakistan. Again, also depend on how effective we are also looking at adapting communication network is domestication of the production because communication is of police uniforms in Nigeria. We fundamental to intelligence. are looking at the possibility of Their ability to respond to partnering with textile factories an emergency situation will in Pakistan to do that here depend on how effective in Nigeria. All these are gear their communication is. The towards conserving our foreign equipments would be tested reserves so that we can create and see. They will also install opportunities for our teeming them free of charge and they youths in the country. have offered free training on use
What has been Nigeria’s already. I believe that the issue What is the level of Nigeria, Pakistan bilateral relations?
Nigeria and Pakistan have entered a new era of relationship. As you may know both countries established relationship 30 years ago and we are also members of various international organizations like the D8 countries, organization of Islamic countries (OIC), etc. However, over the years, a lot more have been achieved in terms of trade and investment between the two countries. Despite the fact that Pakistan achievement in the areas of agriculture, it has over 45 thousand vibrant industries in the areas of agriculture, pharmaceuticals, textiles, surgical equipments and hospitals and the country is also a nuclear power in Asia. Pakistan has equally achieved a lot in terms of technological development because they produced hard defense requirements when we talk about arm and ammunitions, logistic requirements for the members of the armed forces and police uniforms, shoes, booths are all produced locally in Pakistan. They have also been able to produced armoured carriers, fighter jets; they just launched the thunder GF17 aircraft which is competing with F710. In terms of technological development, they have gone far. So what we are trying to do is, as developing countries we know where our problem lies and we will look at areas where we have comparative advantage so that we can share, develop our countries and move forward. At bilateral level, I am pleased to inform Nigerians that for the first time since we establish our relationship, the joint ministerial commission meeting will hold today and tomorrow. This is the first time this kind of joint commission meeting will take place in Nigeria in 30 years. During the meeting we will be looking at agreements in the area of agriculture for example, fertilizer production, farm implements production, tractors, soil nutrients, rice processing mills. In the area of textile, as you know all our textile industries are not functional and we spend our hard earned of keeping the Nigerian police sourcing, efficient and cheaper communication equipments for them will go a long way in assisting them in the fight against insurgency, crime and criminality in the country.
What is the trade volume between Nigeria and Pakistan now?
Prior to my going there the trade volume was just $100 million. Now if you recall last year between the month of August and September, we brought 42 industrialists to Nigeria and we toured about seven states and as a result of various activities now we have reached about $500 million and this will be nothing compare to when the joint commission meeting takes off then if it cumulate and it became possible for the president to lead the high delegation from Pakistan to Nigeria, then we will be looking at billions of dollars investments in the near future.
How soon can the bilateral air service agreement be achieved?
Bilateral air service agreement is not a major impediment as such to trade and investment like narratives of the media in terms of insecurity that is prevalent in both countries. That has created a psychological fear and apprehension in people that make people find it difficult to travel but let me say this, the bilateral air service agreement will only enhance easy movement of people and people to people contact and reduce the stress associated with long distance travelling. It will also create easy movement of goods and services. From all indications it is not only the BASA but a lot of agreements that have not been in place are the major impediment. For instance, we don’t have investment preferential agreement, none for agriculture and textile investment and so on. It is very difficult when you are operating and you do not have such agreement in place and we have taken a bold step as a result of the transformation agenda of the present administration that anchors economic and citizen diplomacy as the foreign policy thrust of Nigeria and that has now open up the doors for a robust engagement between us and the countries we are serving.
What about the Nigerian community in Pakistan, how are they doing?
There are about 700 Nigerians living in Pakistan some of them are married to Pakistani and they are engaged in mostly in textile industry and as well exporting Nigeria palm oil to Pakistan, hide and skin and some other raw agricultural produce. Of course in any society we have the good, bad and the ugly, we have about 30 Nigerians serving in various prisons in Pakistan. Some are cases of 419 and narcotics and we have been using the leaders of various Nigerian communities to admonish them on the need for them to be good ambassadors of their country and so far so good, it has minimize the incidences of Nigerians been arrested in Pakistan.