By Ejiro Umukoro
The ease of doing business in a country, through well-thoughout fiscal policies and solid architectural financial framework, is a key determinant that facilitates economic growths and social development.
Nigeria is the largest producer of gas and oil in Africa with huge amount of natural and mineral resources attracting countries from all over the continent. Countries like South Korean are keen on sustaining the bilateral relations it has with Nigeria especially in the energy and mining sectors.
Meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, delegates from South Korean Embassy of the Republic of South Korea to Nigeria and the 21st National Assembly of the Republic of South Korea paid a visit to the number four man in the country on areas of mutual benefits.
Speaker Abass particularly called for more investment by the Asian country in Nigeria’s energy and mining sectors.
The delegates from the South Korean Embassy in Abuja on Tuesday are also seeking Nigeria’s support for the Asian country’s World Expo 2023 hosting bid.
On the delegation were the Ambassador of South Korea to Nigeria Kim Young-Chae, who led officials of the Foreign Mission; and the Special Envoy of the National Assembly of the Republic of South Korea, Hon. Lee Hun-Seung, who led members of the country’s parliament.
On the side of the House were the Minority Whip, Ali Isa; Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Abdulmumin Jibrin, and several members of the House.
Speaker Abbas, in his remarks, expressed delight over the visit and noted the long-standing relations between Nigeria and South Korea resulting in different exchange of parliamentary programmes since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999.
The Speaker recalled that the 9th House established a Nigeria-South Korea Parliamentary Friendship Group to deepen exchange of ideas, legislative practices and procedure, as well as parliamentary exchange programmes for purposes of capacity development of members and staff.
He said: “There was a mutual understanding to initiate a treaty against double taxation on the businesses of both Nigeria and South Korea which, though passed by the National Assembly, was not assented to by the then President of Nigeria. The 10th House of Representatives will revisit the bill on double taxation to remove obstacles mitigating against smooth investments in both are countries.
“The 10th House has also reconstituted the Nigeria-Korea Friendship Group to broaden our parliamentary relations and promote mutual understanding and cooperation in the areas of capacity development and investments.
“With over 20 Korean companies in Nigeria, such as Samsung, LG and Daewoo, and investments worth over $2billion, it is an enormous contribution to the economy of Nigeria. The recent Korean Government supply of a vessel to the Nigerian Navy confirms the deep mutual relations, which the 10th House will do everything to sustain.”
Speaker Abbas stated that the focus of the Nigerian Government and the 10th House was to strengthen the economic ties between Nigeria and South Korea “to achieve the Fourth Industrial Revolution in technology development and transfer.”
The Speaker, therefore, called for increased collaboration between the parliaments of both countries to “strengthen areas that require legislative actions in our budding relations.”
Speaker Abbas also called for increase in the promotion of business opportunities, including organising trade fairs and exhibitions, while encouraging Korean companies to invest in Nigeria’s mining sector, renewable energy, steel and the petroleum industry.
The Speaker further enjoined both countries to explore opportunities in enhancing cultural cooperation, including film and movies industry, to diversify the economy from oil and gas as the main source of foreign earning.
The Speaker stressed the need for increased collaboration between Nigeria and the Korea International Cooperation Agency to accelerate technology and infrastructure development in Nigeria as well as job creation for the youth.
Speaker Abbas assured the Korean delegation of Nigeria’s support for the Asian country’s World Expo hosting bid.
Speaking earlier on behalf of the delegation, Hon. Hun-Seung, thanked Speaker Abbas for “welcoming us with open arms.”
The Korean lawmaker also congratulated Nigeria on the successful inauguration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“We have a purpose for this visit. The Speaker of National Assembly of South Korea sent us to ask for your assistance to successfully host the World Expo in Korea,” he partly said.
According to him, the final vote on the hosting right for the global exhibition is coming up in September. “If you help us we will also help you,” he said, adding that he was looking forward to a strengthened collaboration between South Korea and Nigeria.
Noting that Nigeria is South Korea’s largest trading partner on the African continent, the Special Envoy hailed Nigeria’s huge natural resources. “Our economies are quite complementary with each other,” he said, stressing that the free trade agreement between the two countries could be improved.
According to Hon. Hun-Seung, President Tinubu has been invited to the G20 meeting in New Delhi in September. He said the occasion would enable the South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol to interact with his Nigerian counterpart.
The South Korean lawmaker also noted that Korea-Africa Summit scheduled for next year would help to lay a new foundation of relationship between the country and Nigeria.