President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan said Wednesday that Nigeria was looking forward to receiving a trade delegation from Bulgaria in order to boost economic relations between the two countries.
Speaking during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 4th European Union (EU)-Africa Summit in Brussels, Belgium with the President of Bulgaria, Mr. Rosen Plevneliev, the President also said the time was ripe for the revitalization of the Nigeria-Bulgaria Bi-National Commission which had its last meeting in 1989.
President Jonathan recalled the cordial relations between both countries in the 70s during which period the National Arts Theatre in Lagos which he described as “a national monument,” was built by a Bulgarian company. He also commended Bulgarian companies for equipping Nigerian secondary schools for technical education during that decade.
“Let us increase trade and investment between the two countries,” he said, adding that “Nigeria has a vast area for investment and we believe we must add value to gas and crude oil which is the only way to create jobs.” The President also said that his administration had been encouraging the private sector to invest more in the economy.
On his part, the Bulgarian President while also commending the 50 years of diplomatic relations between both nations, also stressed the need to deepen and expand the bilateral relations. Mr. Plevneliev said he was proud of what his country’s companies were doing in the construction sector in Nigeria especially in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The Bulgarian President expressed the commitment of his government to send a high-powered trade delegation to Nigeria in order to upgrade the bilateral relations especially in the areas of agriculture and energy management. He also commended President Jonathan’s “visionary and strong approach to leadership” in Nigeria in particular and Africa in general.
During the meeting he also had on the sidelines of the EU-Africa Summit with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, President Jonathan said Nigeria would require further assistance in the areas of power generation and checking terrorist activities. On her part, Chancellor Merkel said the stability of Nigeria was crucial to the West African sub-region and expressed the readiness of her country to assist in the fight against terrorism as well as encourage German companies to invest in Nigeria’s power sector.
President Jonathan also had bilateral talks with the Prime Minister of Finland, Mr. Jurki Katainen; the Prime Minister of Malta, Dr. Joseph Muscat and the British Foreign Secretary, Mr. William Hague on the sidelines of the two-day summit.
The Minister of Defence, Gen. Aliyu Gusau (rtd); the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali; the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Olusegun Aganga as well as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Belgium, Felix Awanbor accompanied President Jonathan to these bilateral meetings.