Nigeria and Vietnam have signed agreement on waiver of visa requirements for holders of valid diplomatic and official passports in both countries.
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and the Deputy Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Mr Vuong Dinh Hue, witnessed the signing and exchange of Memorandum of Understanding during a meeting on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, signed on behalf of Nigeria while his counterpart, the Vietnamese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Nguyen Minh Vu, signed on behalf of his government.
Both countries also agreed on the establishment of a joint commission on trade and strengthening bilateral ties, as well as to increase cooperation in the areas of agriculture, tourism, defence and security, among others.
They also agreed to explore other areas that would further strengthen existing platforms in order to boost economic ties between the two countries.
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Professor Osinbajo, who received the Vietnamese delegation, noted that Nigeria and Vietnam established diplomatic relations in 1976.
He added that the impressive development strides recorded by Vietnam over the years have been a source of encouragement to Nigeria.
“We’ve been very keen watchers of your development, especially in the areas of agriculture, trade, services, industry, and I must say the impressive growth of Vietnam has always been a source of encouragement here for us in Nigeria,” the Vice President was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesperson, Mr Laolu Akande.
He added, “We have also been active in several areas, especially in agriculture, oil and gas, innovation and technology.
“I think there is a lot of room for cooperation and collaboration, especially with respect to economy, commerce, but also in the areas of defence and security.
“Also, in areas of energy and mining, we believe there is a lot we can learn from each other and share. We have a very lucrative mining sector and considerable solid minerals and other mineral sources that we think might be of interest to Vietnam.”
Professor Osinbajo, therefore, called on Vietnam to be more open to Nigerian exports and businesses, stressing that the country’s business climate has improved over the years.
According to him, the government has worked very hard on improving the business environment in Nigeria to make it friendlier for business and tourism.
He recalled that the World Bank named Nigeria one of the top 10 most improved economies in 2020 Doing Business Index.
“I’m sure that with the signing of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement, and some of what we are doing, especially in financial services, we are also looking at expanding our scope, especially in Africa. We will be looking at cooperation with the ASEAN countries as well.
“We are grateful for the offer from His Excellency (Deputy PM) about the possible links Vietnam could help us establish with the ASEAN countries. We are also ready to collaborate in whatever way we can to facilitate the relationships between Vietnam, ECOWAS and the African Union (AU),” the Vice President told his visitors.
He gave assurance that the Nigerian government would look into the issues raised by Vietnam in terms of its rice imports into the country and other issues and ‘respond appropriately.’
Earlier in his remarks, the Deputy PM who is visiting Nigeria for the first time noted that that country is one of Vietnam’s largest trading partners and would welcome more investment and economic collaboration between both countries.
“Vietnam appreciates the tremendous successes that the government and the people of Nigeria have recorded in recent times in the construction and development process of the country, which has put Nigeria in a leading position in the West African region, and on the continent.
“I believe we should work faster and together to compensate for the long time passed that our two countries missed. A multifaceted cooperation shall be intensified with time,” Hue said.
A friendly football match between Nigeria and Vietnam to strengthen bilateral ties was also proposed by the Vietnamese Deputy PM, which the Vice President warmly welcomed.