Issues on how to forge strong economic co-operation, assistance to rebuild Nigeria’s North-East region, ravaged by insurgency and how to benefit from the advanced energy supply technologies, dominated the various discussions by a delegation of the Nigerian Senate in Berlin, Germany, to attend the Europe-Africa session in the German Parliament.
President of the Nigerian Senate and leader of the parliamentary delegation to Germany, Dr. Bukola Saraki maintained Nigeria’s posture that Germany must prove in action that the country was actually very important to German strategic interests in Africa.
The Nigerian Senate President in a statement said that the Nigerian parliamentarians held several meetings with several groups in Germany, including the Vice President of the lower chamber of the German Parliament-the Bundestag, Mr. Johannes Singhammer and top officials of the think-tank group, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the German-African Business Associations, the Foreign Office and members of the Parliamentary Friendship Group.
Their discussions centred on relations with the English and Portuguese speaking States of West and Central Africa.
Germany is the first country that representatives of Nigeria’s the 8th Senate are, auspiciously to take part in the German Lower House’s discussions on Europe-Africa relations.
Senator Saraki thanked the Germans for their contributions to funds for the rehabilitation of Nigeria’s North-east region, pledged during last month’s meeting of the European Union in Oslo, Norway.
He said that the immediate challenge now was how to rebuild the region, rehabilitate and resettle the two million displaced people to their original settlements, noting that the number of internally displaced persons from the region alone, was greater than that of the Syrian crisis which now gets all the attention and commitment of resources from the international community.
The Nigerian Senate President urged the German Parliament to go beyond the provision of intelligence, training and light equipment for the military. He said Germans can influence other countries to sell durable and more efficient military hardware to Nigeria, to strengthen the Armed Forces.
“I am happy at the coincidence that as we are visiting you, you at your plenary session are discussing the role of Europe in Africa. Though a lot is already happening in our relations with your country, we need more German investments in our country, even as we take deliberate, well planned steps to diversify our economy and pay more attention to agriculture, mining of mineral resources and manufacturing.
“No economy in the world has the kind of potentials that Nigeria has and if we talk of Africa, you are talking of Nigeria as the leader. We, in the parliament, are working on several Bills that will open up the economy and make it easy to do business with great rate of return on investment”, he said.
Ease of Doing Business
According to the Senate President, Nigeria now gives visa at the point of entry to genuine business people and tourists, a fact testified to by a member of the German-African Business Association present at one of the meetings.
He said the “Ease of Doing Business” Committee, headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is complemented by the National Assembly’s Business Environment Roundtable and policies and laws to fully open the national economy to private sector participation.
Senator Saraki explained the various measures introduced to fight corruption and entrench transparency in the public sector and assured members of the German-African business community and the Parliamentary Friendship Group that various laws that will ensure easy entry and exit into the country, as well as dispute resolution and contract enforcement that comply with global best practices, were being enacted.
He canvassed for the co-operation of the German lawmakers in granting legal stay to law abiding and skilful Nigerians who have been living in Germany for a long time, to enable them to meaningfully and positively contribute to the economy of their host country.
In the area of power, the Senate President urged Germany to invest in the sector in Nigeria, which is open to utilising different sources of energy like solar, gas turbines, renewable energy and bio-gas.
The Senate President also explained that Nigeria was in the process of exploring the feasibility of deploying independent sources of electricity in some educational and health institutions that are not connected to the National Electricity Grid.
In most of the places visited, the Germans identified the need for Nigeria to invest in adequate security and infrastructure, create necessary legal framework and review policies to drive investments, in order to attract more investments.
The Senate President was accompanied on the trip to Berlin by the Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Naallah, Senators Enyinaya Abaribe, Monsurat Sunmonu and Abubakar Kyari.
Source: Voice of Nigeria