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Speaker Abbas Calls for Strategic Partnership with Saudi Arabia to Build Refineries, Hospitals, Fight Global Warming

Speaker Abbas Calls for Strategic Partnership with Saudi Arabia to Build Refineries, Hospitals, Fight Global Warming

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…harps on balancing volume of trade

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas has called for strategic partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to shore up investment opportunities in Nigeria.

Speaking during a courtesy call on him by Saudi Arabia Nigerian Parliamentary Friendship Group on Wednesday, the Speaker who noted the age long diplomatic ties between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, spanning over 25 years advocated for more collaboration in the areas of trade and investment, tourism, oil and gas and infrastructure.

Represented by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, Abbas said: “We envision robust collaboration that will go across various sectors. These sectors include trade and investment, tourism.

“Oil and gas, we are going to leverage your expertise for mutual benefits. We are tired of crude oil exports. We want to go into refined products and you’ve established yourself in that space. We want strategic partnership along that corridor.

“Infrastructure calls for attention. Mr President has visited Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations across the world inviting investors to come.

“There are specifics to invest in our infrastructure, from railways to standard hospitals, railways that will connect to our economic integration along all economic regions of the country to make marketing of our products easier.

“So, agriculture and agricultural businesses call for partnership between us. Nigeria wants to go more into mechanised farming. Subsistence farming, hand-to-mouth farming is not sustainable. We are looking for strategic partnership that will enhance the productivity of both our people and our land. Our land is arable land, very productive. We are blessed with land that can produce a lot in agriculture.

“And with technology, with the right seedlings, right products, we can produce a lot for the African continent and also for the world.”

Noting a disparity in volume of trade as it concerns minerals resources, Speaker Abbas called for balance of trade between both countries, stressing Nigeria’s determination to grow its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“Mineral resources is something that is on top. And the body language of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the moment is that we want to use some minerals to increase the GDP of the country. The moment, it is being 0.3% to the GDP, it ought not to be so. So the country is looking at increasing it to at least 3% addition to the GDP. And to be able to achieve that, we need more partners to come into the solid mineral space.

“Our relationship has enjoyed an impressive, steady trajectory. I can assure it will be impressive if you consider 19.5% annually since 1995. So, on your side it’s 19.5%, on our side 10.5 %. But you will find a way of balancing it. Like I just mentioned to you, the balance of trade is favoring you more than us now”, he said.

Speaker Abbas who also recalled how the global community united to fight COVID-19, urged the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to join hands with Nigeria and fight climate change and global warming challenges in Africa, assuring them of Parliamentary support where necessary.

“As you know, food security is one of the major things in the world at the moment, especially in the face of the climate change problems and challenges. To ignore the impact of global warming is to live in denial. So, it is to embrace the challenges like we embraced COVID. We fought it together. You fought from Saudi, we fought from Nigeria. And the model you put in place, we put in place in Nigeria, the one we put here, you put there; at the end of the day, we chased COVID-19 away.

“The same way, I am calling on Saudi Arabia to join hands with Africa, with Nigeria, let us face the challenges of global warming and the impacts on agriculture.

“And I know, whether through technology, through research, through collaborations, through exchange of expertise, we will be able to provide solutions that will counter the hydra-headed challenging impacts and harshness of climate change”, he said.

Earlier in his presentation, the Acting Chairman of the group and leader of the delegation, Dr Abdullah Hamad Alsalamah said their mission was to ultimately seek new ways to strengthen the partnership with Nigeria in areas of mutual benefits.

“We are gathered here today, to know what we are going to do in the future, in terms of bilateral relations. We look to the country as a strategic partner, Nigeria is very important, its people, its government, its land everything that we are proud of. Therefore we are looking to see this country in more prosperity, economic prosperity. We want to strengthen our strategic partnership, economic and political relationship”, he said.

Signed:

Levinus Nwabughiogu, Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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