Abuja - Nigeria and Pakistan on Tuesday in Abuja signed a number of agreements to boost bilateral trade from less than $100 million to at least $1 billion within the next five years.
The deals were concluded on Tuesday at a bilateral discussion between President Goodluck Jonathan and his Pakistani counterpart, Mamnoon Hussain, who is on a three-day State visit to Nigeria.
Briefing State 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 that we should move from under $100 million to at least a billion dollars. We are now 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 with the business community.
“We are doing all these things to make sure that we increase the trade relationship between Pakistan and Nigeria," he said.
According to him, other 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 that Nigeria and Pakistan were committed to doubling it in the next years.
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.
"In the area of agriculture Pakistan is doing well and of course Nigeria is devoting attention to agriculture and now taking it as a business, enhancing the agricultural value chain," he said.
In his remarks Hussain underscored the need to institutionalise areas of partnership between Nigeria and Pakistan.
Such areas, he said, included economic, air services agreement and exchange of prisoners 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 Lagos on Wednesday to give fillip to the cooperation efforts between the two nations.
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