By Menahill Rashid
FAISALABAD: Africa has become a new emerging global market and Pakistan must explore its untapped potential by participating in the Abuja International Trade Fair scheduled to be held in Lagos during the month of November this year, said Nigerian High Commissioner Mr. Mohammad Bello Abioye.
He was addressing the business community of Faisalabad in the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI) here today. He said that Pakistan and Nigeria have best relations but these relations could not be translated into economic terms. He appreciated Pakistan’s policy of issuing “On Arrival Visas” and said that Nigeria was also considering providing such a facility to the international buyers. About the scheduled Trade Fair, he said that it will provide a unique facility to showcase exportable surplus of Pakistan and other countries. Terming Nigeria as a gateway to Africa, he said that through Nigeria, the business community could also develop their links with other neighboring African countries.
Earlier Chaudhary Talat Mahmood Senior Vice President FCCI welcomed the Nigerian High Commissioner and introduced Faisalabad and FCCI. He said that the corona had crippled the global economy last year but in Pakistan the economy made tremendous progress due to the smart lockdown policy of the present Government. He said that textile is the iconic identity of Faisalabad but other sectors including chemicals, soap, detergent and pharmaceutical etc are also growing at much faster pace. Quoting statistics of bilateral trade, he said that the total volume of trade is very low as compared to the potential of Pakistan and Nigeria. He said that at present trade balance is in favor of Nigeria. He further said that Faisalabad is a global player in the textile sector but our textile export to Nigeria is not up to the mark. He said that a member of FCCI has very recently dispatched a sample of medical equipment to Nigeria and hopefully this sector will also start exports to Nigeria very soon. He said that both countries should make serious efforts to enhance bilateral trade and in this connection, he recommended a free visa regime for the business communities of the both countries. He also recommended regular zoom meetings, organization of Catalog exhibitions and signing of MOUs between leading chambers of the two countries for sustainable economic relations.
A question answer session was also held while both dignitaries exchanged mementos.
Mr. Atif Munir offered a vote of thanks. Engineer Hafiz Ihtasham Javed President FCCI arrived during the last moments of the meeting because of his another emergent engagement. He assured the Nigerian High Commissioner that FCCI will play a major role in enhancing bilateral trade between the two countries.