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Nigeria, Brazil to strengthen economic ties

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President Bola Tinubu and President Luiz da Silva of Brazil have met for a comprehensive strengthening of bilateral ties across different economic sectors.

The meeting took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Sunday on the sidelines of the 37th session of the African Union Head of States and Government.

Mr Tinubu stressed the need for stronger ties with other nations in line with Nigeria’s economic potential and influence on the continent.

He said that Nigeria was witnessing a leap forward in spite of some short-term reform pains, adding that his administration was removing encumbrances to business.

The President explained that his administration was investing in critical sectors such as healthcare, education and agriculture to ensure the welfare of citizens and to create sustainable economic prosperity.

He said, “We have a vibrant population of young Nigerians who are trainable, dependable, and should be empowered. The economic potential of Nigeria is enormous. We are ready to fight corruption from top to bottom. We are ready to invest in critical sectors such as healthcare, agriculture, education, infrastructure, and others. I have one of the most dedicated teams on agriculture.’’

Mr Tinubu said Nigeria was ready to deepen ties with Brazil, noting that it is a “legacy of what can be done together to change the future for countless millions of our citizens.

“We are stopping at nothing to remove encumbrances to business. Red tape is being shredded around us. There is nothing we will not do to manifest the great potential of our nation. We are very aware of your progressive legacies of social security provision, infrastructure, and reforms in Petrobras. We are in the process of implementing similar reforms in the NNPCL.

“We are focusing on investment in new production and new energy sources. We are investing in research, and we are removing obstacles to further partnerships in all areas of operation,” the President said.

Identifying solid mineral exploration, agriculture, education, and healthcare as areas of immediate concern, Mr Tinubu emphasised that the will of the two leaders to collaborate was firmly established.

“I agree that our countries must now have direct air links. I will form a committee of cabinet members who will work directly with your cabinet ministers, and they will urgently form a joint plan of action for the benefit of our two great countries. Brazil and Nigeria share similarities. Let us forget old mistakes. The phenomenal growth achieved by Brazil in agriculture is exemplary.

“We will work with you to mechanise our food production systems to enhance quality and quantity of output. I will work with you to re-energise Nigeria’s relations with Brazil across the board,” Mr Tinubu said.

Assessing Nigeria’s natural and human resource wealth akin to Brazil’s, da Silva said Africa’s largest economy and South America’s largest economy have a long and interesting history.

The Brazilian leader said Nigeria and Brazil once had a trade volume of more than 10 billion dollars in the past, which has now plummeted to 1.6 billion dollars.

“I am back to try to restore; to reclaim our good relations with Nigeria. I cannot imagine that a country of 216 million people and another of 213 million people do not have strong relations.

“Mr. President, I am 78 years old. You are 71. What keeps me energetic is that I fight for a cause. The cause of my nation and people. A great cause is the elixir of sustained vitality for experienced leaders.

“Nigeria and Brazil need stronger relations from the academic viewpoint; from the cultural viewpoint; from the commercial viewpoint; from the agricultural viewpoint; from the industrial viewpoint, and from trade viewpoint.

“It is meaningless that there are no direct flights from Lagos to Sao Paulo and vice versa. I cannot understand that. We have to sit at a table and find a solution for that.

“In aviation, there are many areas of potential collaboration with our manufacturers who seek to have a greater presence in Africa. I only have three more years left of my term to do everything I have not done yet.

“The time is short. I am in a hurry to make my contributions to improve these relations with Nigeria. To make this happen, we have to put our ministers to work,” he said.

The two leaders agreed to work out the modalities for a state visit to Brazil by Tinubu following an invitation by da Silva.

NAN

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