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Nigeria, Canada revisit trade agreement to boost ties

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Minister of trade and investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

The governments of Nigeria and Canada have commenced moves to revive a stalled bilateral agreement between both countries during a courtesy visit of the new Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Philip Baker to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah in Abuja recently.

Baker, who expressed delight to be in Nigeria after working in Ethiopia, said Canada is ready to collaborate with Nigeria in key areas like mining and aviation in which his country is well developed.

The High Commissioner had raised the issue of the stalled bilateral treaty and called for a resolution.

It would be recalled that a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA) was signed by Nigeria and Canada in May 2014, which Canada ratified in 2014.

However, Nigeria decided not to ratify the agreement on the grounds that it was unbalanced and not consistent with Nigeria’s 2016 bilateral investment treaty (BIT) model.

Nigeria has therefore requested for the amendment or renegotiation of the agreement.

Baker commended the minister on the country’s efforts and achievements on the ease of doing business and on the economy.

He said the task before him is to increase trade between the two countries as a means of building future relationships, therefore requesting for how the relationship could be fostered.

Welcoming the High Commissioner, Enelamah said he believed that his African experience will be useful during his work in Nigeria. He appreciated the relationship between the two countries and said they must make it count.

“We will collaborate with you, we will work with you,” the minister assured.

Explaining Nigeria’s position, Yewande Sadiku, Executive Secretary of Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) said under a Country-focused investment promotion strategy, NIPC has undertaken diligent process of identifying countries that are strategic to Nigeria’s quest for direct investments.

“The deep-dive analysis conducted to determine the priority countries was based on five broad criteria related to Nigeria’s trade relations, global and sectoral investment flows, and Nigeria’s strategic relationships.

“Twenty countries were identified as being of strategic importance for investment promotion. NIPC is now working on building strategic relationships with the top 3-5 countries.”

She said though Canada is among the 20 countries of strategic importance, Nigeria’s new policy considers investors’ rights but ensures that Nigeria is not disadvantaged.

Having listened to all the parties involved, including officials of the Ministry, Enelamah urged them to take the necessary steps to resolve the issues speedily.

He was confident of the ability of Nigeria and Canada to harness their mutual interests and synergies effectively.


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