The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), says Nigeria is keen to see increased trade with the Republic of Poland as current levels remain low despite six decades of bilateral relations.
“We would like to see an increase in the level of trade, as it remains relatively low in spite of the long period of relations between our two countries,’’ Buhari said after a closed-door meeting with his Polish Counterpart, Andrzej Duda, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday
At the meeting, both leaders signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Agriculture.
Duda was at the Villa as part of his two-day state visit to Nigeria.
He is also billed for an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation later on Tuesday.
Addressing a joint press conference with the visiting Head of State, Buhari said Nigeria was gratified by the existing fruitful cooperation with Poland in the fields of maritime, education and defence.
On agriculture, which is one of the priority areas of the Nigerian government, the President described cooperation in this area as a win-win for the two countries, especially in the context of global food insecurity occasioned by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
With the numerous global challenges in mind, Buhari said Nigeria would like to develop new mechanisms for cooperation including regular strategic dialogues and political consultations to cover not only bilateral relations but also to address regional and international issues.
“‘Our cooperation in education has a long history and we wish to encourage the extension of that cooperation to the sharing of knowledge and experience between our educational institutions in areas such as science and technology as well as Information and Communication Technology, in order to help drive innovation in our countries in this competitive global knowledge economy,’’ the President said.
He commended the efforts of the Government of Poland in providing assistance to the large number of refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, including a significant number of Nigerians.
‘‘I also wish to express our sincere gratitude for the kind and generous support extended during our government’s evacuation of our fleeing nationals.
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‘‘We also greatly appreciate the opportunity given to some of our nationals to remain in Poland to continue with their studies.
‘‘As regards trade relations, we would like to see an increase in the level of trade, as it remains relatively low in spite of the long period of relations between our two countries,’’ he said.
Buhari welcomed the hosting of a Dialogue that will assemble various members of the business sectors of Nigeria and Poland, during the State Visit, describing it as an excellent initiative to increase the level of trade between both countries.
On his part, Duda said Nigeria was the only African country Poland has signed an agreement of strategic dialogue with, which includes the MoU on agriculture cooperation.
‘‘What was pivotal in our conversation today both in our tete-a-tete as well as the plenary session was how to provide food and energy security.
‘‘It is important to us to strengthen the relations between Poland and Nigeria and the MOU we have signed is very important for the future of both nations on food security,’’ the Polish president said through an interpreter
Describing Russia’s aggression as “unjustified” Duda noted that his country is supporting affected states and its partner countries to boost agricultural yield.
“The Russian aggression against Ukraine, which is totally unjustified, and has sparked off a very serious food crisis and a very serious energy crisis.
“As the country who is also a member of the United Nations, it is so important to support Ukraine in its export of grain and food products out of the country. But it’s equally a burden to us to provide our support to Africa and in particular to our partner country, that is Nigeria,” he noted.
On energy security, Duda lauded the delivery of liquefied natural gas to Poland from Nigeria, as well as shipments of crude oil saying “We want to further this cooperation and we want to increase the supplies from Nigeria to Poland and by this way we want to contribute to the development of economic cooperation between the two countries.”