ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) is in the process of concluding a Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) with Nigeria as an initiative to enhance trade especially exports to West African countries.
On September 12, the Cabinet accorded approval to start negotiations for signing of Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) between the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Government of the Republic of Nigeria
A well placed source privy to Minister for Commerce told this scribe here on Monday that MoC was primarily concerned with the aspects of bilateral trade with Western African Countries and MoC was planning to set up a trade mission in Lagos, Nigeria.
“Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2012-15 is a roadmap to boost exports of Pakistan and to enhance market access for our merchandise exports,” the source added, saying that MoC had announced several export enhancement initiatives focusing institutional development for export potential regions, African Region.
The source observed that MoC’s initiatives included opening retail sale outlets in major importing countries was the best tool for introducing and exporting high quality and branded exports of Pakistan. “International presence of Pakistani firms at present is very low as compared to our competitors. Motivate exporters to introduce their finished products,” the source added, saying that Government provided subsidy on these outlets up to 75%. 50%. 25% per annum of the rental cost of retail outlets or ware houses in the first, second and third year respectively in the export markets in Asia/Africa and Australia.
The source said that West African region comprised 18 countries namely Benin. Burkina Faso, the island of Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, the Island of Saint Helena, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principal and Togo. “Out of these countries, 15 countries are member of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a region with headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria,” the source observed.
Referring to the outcomes of President Mamnoon Hussain’s visit to Nigeria in June this year, the source said that during the said visit, both sides agreed to not on enhance bilateral trade but the Nigerian side also assured to play its role in facilitating access of Pakistani goods to ECOWAS member states.
It is pertinent to note here that West Africans’ estimate population is at 340 million people as of 2013 and they primarily speak Niger-Congo Languages, belonging mostly, though not exclusively, to its non-Bantu branches, though some Nilo-Saharan and Afro-Asiatic speaking groups are also found.