Africa needs partnership that would develop the continent’s latent potentials and not aids and grants. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, made this known while receiving members of the Korea National Assembly, led by its Deputy Speaker, Mr Lee Ju-Young, accompanied by the Korean ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Lee In-tae, at the National Assembly on Friday.
He urged foreign investors to look beyond the oil sector to other equally viable areas such as solid minerals and agriculture, the major employment generating sectors for the country. Dogara called for support for Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which was geared toward sustaining economic growth that had been achieved by the present governments. Dogara noted that Korea and its citizens could exploit the plan to deepen the economic relations of both countries.
“Right now, the balance of trade between Nigeria and South Korea obviously favors your nation and it is like you are most interested in the area of oil. “That is what you buy most from Nigeria but I can assure you that we have more than oil and if you go through the ERGP, you will find quite a number of opportunities there.
"That is what I want your country to exploit so that we can deepen economic cooperation between our two nations,” he said. The lawmaker also requested for assistance to tackle challenges such as insecurity and the attendant problem of internal displacement of persons, especially in the North-East. Dogara said that at the moment, the country was grappling with a lot of challenges of insecurity, adding that the dividends of democracy was life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The speaker said that security was vital to the sustenance of democracy and called on Korean government to cooperate and offer some help through intelligence sharing and other support.
“Different nations are gifted differently and endowed with certain resources differently by the creator and we recognize the fact that your country is the number one ship building country in the world. "And Korea has some of the biggest solar plants that you built but also in Nigeria, we have some areas of gifting.
“We have opportunities in agriculture, tourism, solid minerals and many other sectors that can be exploited by the business community in Korea. "So that when we meet, we do not dwell on oil as if oil is the only thing we have in this country.
“It is not just oil and energy, there are opportunities in other fields, Agriculture, for instance, generates a lot of gainful employment opportunities for a great number of our citizens. “What Africa needs, therefore, for so long we have been described as a nation that needs aids, now we need partners that we can work together to develop our latent potentials.’’
Dogara said that though the life of the present 8th Assembly would end on June 9th, the relationship of the two parliaments had a lot of potentials.
He expressed hope that the 9th Assembly would be fully explored by the incoming lawmakers by constituting a committee for the parliamentary friendship groups which seek to address issues that conventional diplomacy could not address. Dogara proposed that the 6th Nigeria/Korea Joint Commission Summit should take place immediately at a mutually agreed date, so that all underlying issues that constitute irritants to the relationship of the two countries could be addressed.
Earlier, Mr Lee Ju-young said he was visiting to inform the speaker that the Republic of Korea was interested in promoting economic growth in Nigeria through their investment.
He said that his country’s Parliament was also focused on promoting the relationship between the legislature and its leaders, adding that the Speaker was young and had a big role in leading Nigeria. “We are here to promote mutual relationship between the two parliaments and the leaders of both countries,”Ju-young said.