The Chairman of the group of Eight Developing Countries (D-8), Dr Dipo Alam, has called for more economic cooperation between member countries, to boost their trade and investments.
Alam, who is also a minister in the Indonesian government, made the call when he led a delegation to visit Nigeria’s Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Mr Humphrey Abah, on Monday in Abuja, said that the delegation was in the ministry to brief him on the D-8 summit, slated for July in Nigeria.
Alam said that the delegation would meet Nigeria’s Vice President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, to inform him and decide the exact date for the event.
He predicted that with increased economic cooperation between the D-8 countries, their growth rate would increase from 10 percent to 15 percent by 2018.
"To facilitate our intra-trade, we expect traders, industrialists and other professionals from member countries to interact regularly,’’ he said.
Toward this end, he said that four member countries – Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia had ratified an agreement indicating that visa would not be required to enter their countries
"We hope Nigeria will ratify that agreement too to make it the fifth country,’’ he said.
Alam disclosed that over 2,000 Nigerians were doing business in Indonesia, urging Nigeria to sign the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), which Iran and Malaysia had signed.
According to him, the agreement is aimed at engaging member countries in direct trade.
"The next PTA meeting will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, where I hope Nigeria will apply for the PTA.
"Among the D-8 countries, Malaysia is number one in export and Nigeria is number one for investment, according to the World Bank report,’’ he said.
Abah assured the D-8 delegation of the preparedness of the ministry to support the hosting of the summit in Nigeria.
He, however, urged the D-8 to enhance its investment in Nigeria, especially in agriculture, free trade zones as well as in oil and gas.
"We also expect increased cooperation on multilateral trade, specifically on the DOHA Round of Talks (of the WTO) and on the on going discussion on Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with he EU),’’ he said.
Nigeria will during the summit, take over the chairmanship of the D-8 for a two-year-term.
The D-8 Organisations for Economic Cooperation groups Nigeria, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Malaysia.