By DAVID IORJA -Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Istanbul urged D-8 leaders to prioritize incentives and measures aimed at increasing trade and investments among member countries.
Speaking at the ninth summit of the D-8, President Buhari said the private sector and business communities in the economic organization must be assisted with incentives to widen economic cooperation among member-states.
‘‘As the D-8, we need to intensify our activities with a view to enhancing various measures and incentives introduced to promote trade and assist the business communities from Member States to invest in our countries and widen our cooperation.
‘‘We need to work hard to establish integrated manufacturing structures and markets. I will like to reiterate the importance of increasing trade and investment among our Member States,’’ he said,
President Buhari also used the occasion of his speech to reiterate Nigeria’s commitment to international trade and development even as he affirmed the country’s readiness to host the Meeting of D8 Ministers of Industry from November 14 – 17 in Abuja.
Highlighting the attractive business and investment opportunities in the country, the President stressed the need for prospective investors to take advantage of the Federal Government’s new policies on trade facilitation.
‘‘Nigeria is committed to, and is actively pursuing a policy of trade and investment facilitation for growth. The gains from trade are reflected in greater competitiveness, improved productivity, job creation, consumer welfare and prosperity.
‘‘Economies that grow fastest and at more sustainable rates are those that actively promote trade and attract investment. We are committed to creating an enabling environment and making Nigeria an attractive place for business and investment,’’ he said.
The President also urged D-8 member countries to support the efforts of the African Union (AU) to establish the first ever single market for trade in goods and services on the continent.
He described the AU-backed Continental Free Trade Area for Africa as a ‘’win-win for all, including member countries of the D-8.’’
‘‘I am pleased to inform you of positive market developments currently in Africa, that will support our efforts as Members of the D-8 to enlarge our markets, facilitate our trade and investments, and develop our economies.
‘‘In Africa, we are on the threshold of finalizing negotiations to establish the first ever Single Market for Trade in Goods and Services on our Continent, in the Continental Free Trade Area for Africa. This will be a win-win for all, including member countries of the D-8.
‘‘As partners, I urge that we work together to support this effort of the African Union that will have a positive effect on global economic development and integration,’’ he said.
Earlier, President Buhari had congratulated the outgoing Chairman of D8, Pakistani government, and Dr. Seyed Ali Mohammad Mousavi, the outgoing Secretary-General, on their commitment and strong resolve to forge the organization ahead even in the face of serious challenges.
He also congratulated Turkey on assuming the new leadership of the economic organization.
He assured D-8 leaders that Nigeria would continue to support the Secretariat in its assignments to achieve the visions and objectives of the organization.