The Federal government is working out plans to begin direct flights from Nigeria to Pakistan, in its efforts to boost trade volume between the two countries.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, during the weekend, led a delegation to Islamabad, Pakistan, where he met with different government officials in civil aviation, trade and commerce to foster economic and trade relations.
At the meeting with the Acting Secretary of Aviation of Pakistan, Hassan Nafir, the Honourable Minister and his host agreed to take concrete steps towards the commencement of direct flights between Nigeria and Pakistan, in order to promote trade and tourism.
They also agreed that the subsisting Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and Pakistan be revitalized within the shortest possible time.
To actualise the plan, a directive was given to officials of both countries present at the meeting to immediately meet to review the BASA and come up with a workable Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that would ensure early commencement of direct flights.
He decried the volume of trade between Nigeria and Pakistan, valued at $210M, and stated that efforts should be made towards improving it, through the promotion of business-to-business talks, the establishment of the Nigeria-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Agriculture, and visit of trade delegations from both sides.
The President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce was of the view that trade between Nigeria and Pakistan could only be bolstered if there was a direct flight linking Pakistan and Nigeria and urged the Honourable Minister to facilitate it.
Senator Sirika stated that, no doubt, flight connectivity had a greater role in cementing bilateral and economic relations between friendly nations of the world, and promised to facilitate the process before the end of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, whose government had done so well to promote the development of civil aviation in Nigeria.
Sirika also urged the business leaders of Pakistan to leverage the opportunities abound in the Aviation Sector in Nigeria, emphasizing that the four international airports in Nigeria have been designated as Economic Free Trade Zones with all the advantages that goes with such designations.