The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s renewed economic and diplomatic shuttle to Japan and Russia as a commendable step in line with Nigeria’s economic growth plan.
A statement issued by Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, ACCI President, on Thursday in Abuja, said that the diplomatic shuttle was also in line with demands of the new African free trade plan.
Kayode, also a Trade and Tax Consultant, described the trip to Japan as a rewarding exercise in Nigeria’s drive to advance its economic interests and lead Africa as the biggest economy and population.
“We commend the President for providing the necessary leadership for Africa in Japan as he participated in several meetings which yielded positive agreements, especially in terms of placing Nigeria’s economic interest in the front line of discourse.
“The consolidation of mutually beneficial ties with the Japanese is not lost on business stakeholders.
“More critically is that the president supports Japanese alternative programme for African infrastructure renewal which emphasises quality rather than quantity of infrastructural projects on the continent.
“While in Japan, the president also held bilateral talks with the South African President, a meeting very critical because of recent threats to Nigerian businesses in South Africa,’’ Kayode said.
He recalled that the President had secured a major Japanese support for the upgrade of power transmission facilities in Lagos.
Kayode said that the Japanese trip would consolidate and deepen infrastructure support for Nigeria from its government:
“Economic diplomacy is the watchword now in global diplomacy. As our President is firming up deals in Japan, he will no doubt pursue this diplomacy further by attending the Russian Africa Forum in October 2019.
“As President Buhari has also reached out to Germany which signed a major power deal with Nigeria few weeks ago, the next point of call is Russia to advance our steel, mining, defence and manufacturing sectors.’’
Kayode further commended the President for implementing a paradigm shift in the national economic focus of Nigeria.
He advocated continued pursuit of the new policy shift, urging presidential attendance at the 2019 Russia — Africa Forum in Sochi, Russia in October.
“Nigeria must be present to anchor our national interests as well as provide leadership for Africa,’’ he added.
Amaka E. Nliam