Nigeria, Netherlands to improve bilateral relations

President Muhammadu Buhari and Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Tuesday had talks in Abuja on bilateral relations and agreed that Nigeria and the Netherlands would continue to work together to improve bilateral trade volumes as well as private sector investments.

A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting said the two leaders reviewed the progress that has been made with implementing the Memorandum of Understanding on deepening the bilateral relations between the two nations concluded and signed by the respective Foreign Ministers in The Hague in July 2018.

A statement issued by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity) after the meeting at the presidential villa, Abuja quoted the communique as saying: ‘‘We welcome the steps that have been made to increase bilateral economic cooperation and are happy to see higher levels of bilateral trade volumes as well as private sector investments.”

The communiqué was signed by Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Netherlands, Oji Ngofa and the Deputy Head of Mission, Netherlands Embassy in Abuja, Ewout-Jan de Wit.

It further said: ‘‘The contribution of Dutch private businesses, both global players and small, micro and medium enterprises, to the Nigerian economy is duly noted.

‘‘Investments by the Netherlands Investment Bank FMO and the Dutch Good Growth Fund are contributing to better access to finance and energy for the private sector.

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‘‘Nigeria confirms its commitment to continuing reforms for a conducive business and investment environment while the Netherlands pledges to continue assisting Nigeria for an increase in agricultural productivity especially horticulture, seed, and sustainable palm oil production.”

President Buhari and Prime Minister Rutte also reiterated their commitment to the fight against human trafficking, appreciating the close collaboration between both countries in supporting the victims.

According to the statement, while noting with concern the challenging security situation in the West-African sub-region and Nigeria, The Netherlands acknowledged the sustained efforts of Nigeria in the fight against insurgency and in countering violent extremism.

‘‘The Netherlands will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need, in particular women and girls, in order to mitigate the impact of insecurity and displacement,’’ the communiqué added.

Prime Minister Rutte, who is on a two-day working visit to Nigeria is leading a trade delegation of 8 Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Dutch multinationals currently operating in Nigeria with huge investment portfolios in the agriculture, finance, oil and gas sectors.

After the bilateral consultations between delegations of both countries, President Buhari and Prime Minister Rutte witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on dairy chain development between Royal FrieslandCampina WAMCO and the Government of Niger State.

The MoU was signed by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State and Mr Ben Langat, Managing Director, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Plc.

The agreement on dairy chain development is expected to save Nigeria about 1.2 billion dollars from milk importation annually, the statement informed.

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