President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja on Thursday reaffirmed his administration’s determination to do all within its powers to facilitate and encourage the rapid diversification of Nigeria’s economy.
The president stated this at an audience with the outgoing Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Nigeria, Mr. Jaroslav Siro.
Jonathan declared that his administration was fully committed to moving the Nigerian economy away from dependence on crude oil exports by promoting the development of the country’s non-oil sectors.
He said that in keeping with the commitment, the Federal Government was actively exploring all avenues of boosting trade and economic relations with other countries in areas not related to the oil and gas sector.
“With current developments in the world, we are more interested in diversifying our economy, not in over-emphasising oil and gas exports.
“Our intention is to move our country away from being a mono-product economy that depends primarily on oil exports.
“We are fully committed, therefore, to boosting non-oil trade relations with other nations,” he said.
Jonathan commended Siro, who served in Nigeria for over five years, for his efforts to enhance bilateral relations between Nigeria and the Czech Republic.
He said the efforts had resulted in the tripling of the volume of trade between the two countries.
Although, the Czech Republic does not import crude oil from Nigeria, the annual volume of non-oil trade between the two countries currently stands at 100 million dollars.
Siro informed the president that a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at the further strengthening of trade and economic cooperation between the Czech Republic and Nigeria was currently being finalised.
He said that his country’s minister of Trade would visit Nigeria soon to sign the Memorandum of Understanding and attend a meeting of the Nigeria-Czech Republic Bi-National Commission. (NAN)