The Federal Government has reaffirmed its commitment to strengthen economic relations with the Turkish government to boost trade and investment.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at the Nigeria-Turkey Business Forum organised by Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), a leading business organisation in Turkey.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the business forum was organised to pave way for both countries’ private sector enterpreneurs to transact business and enable Turkish cooperation to invest in Nigeria.
Adebayo said the event underscored the need for both political and economic cooperation between the two countries, adding that the relationship between Nigeria and Turkey dated back to 1957.
He said that the bilateral relationship had witnessed significant improvement in recent times and Turkey had become a destination and home for many Nigerians.
According to the minister, the forum has a future full of possibilities in the areas of agriculture, mining, oil and gas, textile, manufacturing, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and special economic zones development.
“The present administration understands the role of the private sector as the key driver of the economy and is committed to making Nigeria one of the most attractive countries in terms of Ease of Doing business in the world.
“Some policies have also been introduced to remove some bottlenecks in the economic development in the government’s quest to diversify the economy.
“Executive Order 001 was signed on the Ease of Doing Business with the aim of promoting transparency, accountability in the business environment,” the minister added.
He said that its implementation had positioned Nigeria as a performing country in the Ease of Doing Business tracking.
Adebayo also said that the ministry developed the Nigerian Industrial Master Plan, a strategic plan for industrialisation and also endeavoured to find where Nigeria had comparative advantage.
Earlier, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, the President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) in an opening speech emphasised on how best to advance cooperations between the two countries.
Speaking on “What A Turkish-Nigerian Strategic Partnership Should Look Like” he said that Turkey was a major defence item producer, a major ship building country, and an all round growing industrial power.
He said that Nigeria on the other hand required massive amounts of infrastructure development in road and rail transport, power generation, transmission and distribution, health and education.
He said Nigeria also needed technological assistance, skills development and investments in developing its oil and gas sector, particularly in petroleum refining and gas liquefaction value chain.
“The Nigerian Armed Forces requires access to modern weapons systems, especially those relevant to the new war, asymmetric warfare, counter-insurgency campaigns, trans-border banditry and tactical support for internal security forces.
These can be purchased from Turkey for immediate and strategic supplies when needed to build a strategic relationship.
“A Turkish-Nigerian Strategic Partnership should see both countries leveraging on each other’s strengths to fortify their own vulnerabilities and preserve their independence of action,” he said.
He urged the DEIK led Turkish- Nigeria Business Council as well as the Nigeria-Turkish Business Council to create continuous links between Turkish industry, exporters and investors, and their Nigerian counterparts.
This, he said could be achieved through organising regular exhibitions, Expos, Trade Fairs, and matchmaking for Turkish concerns in Nigeria, organising tours of Turkey and Turkish industrial concerns for Nigerian industrialists.
Furthermore, he tasked the DEIK, Turkish Central Bank, Turkish Export Credit Bank to work with Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Export-Import Bank, and organised private sector.
He said that the partnership would foster necessary financial instruments for large scale Turkish investment in Nigeria and vice versa.
ACCI president equally called for industrial cooperation, adding that Nigeria had large and growing need for steel, aluminum and glass, but with a very weak steel and metallurgy industrial base and production capacity.
He said that the weak industrial base made it difficult for the country to meet its needs in spite ofbsignificant potential for expansion.
The Turkish Minister of Trade, Mrs Ruhsar Pekcan in an address described Nigeria as one of its largest trading partner in the African continent.
Pekcan noted that the relations between Nigeria and Turkey was based on the trade agreement signed in 1982, while liquefied natural gas was being imported from Nigeria to Turkey since 1999
According to Pekcan, Turkey also imports from Nigeria cocoa, cola nuts, metal, tin ore, rubber, zinc, crude petroleum and coal products while it exports construction materials, Agriculture machineries, steel and electronic products to Nigeria.
“Turkish Airline fly to Nigeria in three different points, namely, Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt to contribute to enhancing bilateral and economic relations,” she said.
She also expressed Turkish government’s readiness to strengthen economic and bilateral partnership with Nigeria.