1 The Federal Government and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have signed two Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) to boost trade and investments as well as strengthen cooperation in the areas of security.
2 Both countries signed the pact on Wednesday in Abuja at the close of the two-day Second Session of the Nigeria-Saudi Arabia Joint Commission in Abuja.
3 Amb. Zubairu Dada, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs signed the agreements on behalf of the Federal Government, while Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Ahmed Alkhamshi, signed on behalf of his country.
4 Dada said that the agreements were a culmination of the brainstorming session by experts and officials who engaged in intensive negotiations on several draft agreements and MoUs presented by the two countries dealing with various aspects of Nigeria-Saudi cooperation.
5 He explained that the drafts held under three broad Working Groups, covering the fields of Education, Culture, Youths, Sports, Defence, Security, Drugs and Human Trafficking, Economic, Trade and Investment, Hajj, Labour, among others.
6 “I wish to commend our experts for the good work done.
7 Nigeria is honoured and pleased to have hosted the current Second Session of the Nigeria-Saudi Arabia Joint Commission.
8 “It is our firm belief that the conclusions and the outcome of this Session will go a long way in uplifting and advancing the existing level of our bilateral relations for the mutual benefits of our people.
9 “Nigeria is committed to implementing the agreed minutes, MoUs and Agreements with a view to elevating our cooperation to a higher level,” the minister said.
10 Dada however noted that the two countries are determined to continue discussions and negotiations with Saudi Arabia on the pending MoUs and Agreements which could not be concluded during the current session.
11 He noted particularly that the other MoUs that discussions would be continued on are those on Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and that on the Avoidance of Double Taxation.
12 Dada also lauded the Head of the Saudi Arabia delegation, Ahmed Saleh Alkhamshi, for his leadership.
13 In his remarks, Alkhamshi, said the agreements were based on the desire of the two Governments to enhance joint cooperation, deepen the existing bonds of friendship.
14 Alkhamshi said that the agreements also sought to develop cooperation in economic, social and cultural fields, which was built on civilisational background since ancient times.
15 He added that the signing of agreement between the Federation of Saudi Chambers and the Federation of Nigerian Chambers was to move forward, widen the horizon and provide opportunities for the private sector of both countries.
16 “The Governments of the two countries hope that these meetings will be an appropriate means to review performance, evaluate implementations, develop appropriate solutions to address obstacles to what has not been implemented.
17 “And amend the path towards achieving the desired goals of bilateral cooperation between the two countries,” Alkhamshi said.
18 The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Third Session of the Joint Commission will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, at a date to be mutually agreed by the two countries.