The Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan to Nigeria, Ahmed Ali Sirohey, says his country has the potential to aid Nigeria’s economic growth and development.
The envoy made the remarks at a dinner organised by the Pakistani High Commission in Nigeria in honour of a delegation from the National Defence University of Pakistan.
The delegation was in Abuja for a study tour.
Mr. Sirohey also took time to do a comparative analysis of the two countries, saying Pakistan’s expertise could go a long way in developing Nigeria’s economy.
He identified irrigation, dams and hydro power, agricultural development, textile industry and gas pipelines to major cities and industrial zones as areas in which Pakistani experts and businessmen could come in as investors.
Mr. Sirohey also said Nigeria had tremendous potentials in agricultural especially with its about 90 million hectares of arable land available for cultivation each year.
He lamented that despite this huge potential, the country remained one of the major importers of foodstuff in the world. He added that despite having over 44 major rivers, Nigeria only utilises 2700square kilometres for irrigation farming.
On industrialization, the envoy stated that Nigeria’s industrial growth was greatly hampered by its inability to generate enough power to help run industries.
Citing the textile and garments industry as example, Mr. Ahmed said Nigeria had over 250 textile factories in 2002, but the number had now dropped to about 25, owing largely to lack of constant power.
“Everywhere in the world, industries are growing, but in Nigeria, it is going down,” he said.
The Acting High Commissioner called on the delegation to look beyond their primary assignment of military study tour but also take home the message of the huge potential for investment in the areas he mentioned.
Mr. Sirohey said Nigeria had no business importing food especially as Pakistan is not.
In his remarks, the leader of the delegation, Syel H.A. Naqri, a Brigadier in the Pakistani Army, said his team was made up of faculty members and students of the National Defence University of Pakistan who are doing a National Security and War course, the highest course dealing with policy making and strategy, and is comprised both military officials and civilians.
Mr. Naqri said their meeting with a cross section of Nigerians gave them the impression that the insecurity problem being faced in the northern part of the country would soon be overcome.
The head of delegation also said the presentation by the Acting High commissioner had opened their eyes to the great opportunities available in Nigeria and pledged to initiate a process of engagement with stakeholders with a view to tapping into these potentials.