The Federal Government has solicited Islamic Republic of Iran’s vote for Nigerian Candidate, Dr. (Mrs.), Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela for the post of Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) ahead of the forth-coming election.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Richard Adebayo made this known when the Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Mohammed Alibak paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
The Minister stated that Nigeria would rely on Iran’s support for the election of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela as the next DG of WTO, stressing that if elected it would be the first time an African will occupy the position since its establishment on 1st January 1995.
Adebayo Mr. further said the Bilateral Trade Agreements earlier signed between the two countries in 2001, Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement in 2008, the establishment of Nigeria-Iran Joint Commission in 2004 and Iran Chamber, Industry, Mines and Agriculture in 2016 should be sustained.
‘’I assured you that my team is in the process of renewing these commitments and I will explore you to get your team to work with ours to appraise the current situation of these agreements and kick-start efforts toward renewal and implementation of our mutually beneficial commitments’’he said.
He assured the Ambassador that Nigeria will work with Islamic Republic of Iran to improve on the current low trade volumes as both countries have great potential that can leverage on considering the fact that the two countries are oil dependent economies.
“We can also share knowledge and best practices on economic diversification and our national development goals as Buhari’s led Administration is pushing to diversify the economy into the non-oil sector through various initiatives and a strategic partnership in the industrialization of key sectors that can boost efforts towards export of Iran and Nigeria”he said .
The Minister however, called on Iranian Investors to come to Nigeria to invest in the numerous Export Processing Zones (EPZs), in the country in view of the various incentives available to investors and to pursue partnerships in its economic development initiatives in sectors such as; Fertilizer Production, Tractor Assembly, Persian Rug Manufacturing, Mine and Steel Industries as well as Garment Production.
Earlier, the Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria Mohammed Alibak said Iran is willing to help Nigeria in the areas of technology development, water supply and engineering among others, adding that an invitation will be sent to the Minister to visit the Agricultural Industrial Machinery Show in Iran.
Amb. Alibak further stressed on need to have a joint commission between the two countries as Nigeria is one of the largest countries in Africa in terms of trade with Iran.