By Maureen Okon
Pakistan is optimistic of taking advantage of the ongoing trade and development conference/exhibition in Lagos aimed at promoting trade and investment cooperation between it and Nigeria, according to a top official.
Mr Abdul Razak Dawood, the Advisor to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment, said this on Thursday in Lagos while speaking on the sidelines of the 2nd Pakistan-Africa Trade Development Conference.
The conference is a Single Country Exhibition under Pakistan’s “Look Africa ” policy.
The News Agency of Nigerian (NAN) reports that more than 100 companies in over 11 sectors of the economy are participating in the exhibition.
Manufacturers of surgical instruments, cosmetics, leather products and accessories, kitchen wares, food and beverages, automotive and agricultural machinery, electrical appliances, and information technology are among the participants.
Dawood added that under the look Africa policy of his government, Pakistan saw the need to communicate more with the African continent and especially the countries in the ECOWAS sub-region to boost trade and investment.
“We brought over 200 business people from Pakistan with hopes in their hearts and a lot of aspiration that we can do more and more business with Nigeria not only in trade but investment and many of our people are coming to look at investment opportunities in Nigeria.
“Here at the exhibition we are displaying many of our products such as pharmaceuticals, surgical equipment, insurance, and food processing among others.
“I will be meeting Nigerians and other Africans to encourage them to visit Pakistan and see our people because there’s a lot of potential there too.
“In terms of trade and investment I always feel that when you come once and then twice, people take you seriously because it shows commitment and that is why after the exhibition we will be returning in 2022.
“Pakistan is focused on two things; and one, is business people coming into the country which is liberal now, and the second is for tourism.
“Also the ease of travel between the two countries is what is required.
“I am very hopeful that this visit of so many of our people will bring greater collaboration in the trade and investment sector.
“At the first edition in kenya we had 80 people but here we have 200 and that shows our interest,” he said.
Speaking earlier with NAN, former Nigerian Ambassador to Pakistan, Mr Dauda Danladi, said that the event was a consolidation of the various bilateral trade agreements that Nigeria had signed with Pakistan.
He said he was glad that the exhibition was a culmination of what Nigeria set out to achieve in 2014 when it invited the Pakistani president.
According to him, at least 70 trade delegations visited seven states in Nigeria as a result.
He expressed the desire to see both countries establish a Nigeria-pakistani chambers of commerce that would promote trade and investment.
“As a result, this delegation has come today to expand trade opportunities especially within the ECOWAS sub-region.
“We want to capitaliseon the Africa continental free trade area that is now being implemented within the African continent.
“Both countries have large and huge populations; Pakistan is almost about 200 million people and likewise Nigeria.
“In terms of agricultural development, we share similarities but Pakistan has comparative advantage in terms of the production of agricultural implements such as tractors, general farm implements, and inputs like fertiliser that could boost agricultural production in Nigeria.
“In the area of textiles, you know Nigeria spends more than N50 billion on the importation of textile materials.
“We need to rejuvenate the textiles industry and Pakistan is the 7th largest exporter of textile in the world and I think collaborating in that field will revamp the textiles industry. (NAN)