President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Pretoria, South Africa, urged the South African government to open up its economy to allow the influx of more Nigerian businesses.
The Nigerian President also urged the South African government to create a business environment that would guarantee their safety.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, said in a statement that the Nigerian leader made the call at the inaugural meeting of the 9th Bi-National Commission at the seat of government, Union Building, Pretoria.
While stressing the need for reciprocity in promoting trade and investment between both countries, President Buhari said that South African companies had enjoyed not only the unfettered access to the Nigerian market, but protection and enabling laws as well.
He, therefore, urged the South African government to design policies that would by favourable to investments from Nigeria.
The President had co-chaired the inaugural meeting of the Bi-National Commission at the level of heads of state.
President Buhari said: “We are pleased to inform you that our government has made doing business in Nigeria easier through the Ease of Doing Business Initiative aimed at creating more opportunities for investors in Nigeria.
“We call on the Government of South Africa to also take steps to ease doing business in the country, and open up its market space for Nigerian businessmen and women.
“In this context, we are gratified that a Nigeria-South Africa Business Forum has been organised in the frame work of this state visit.”
He said that Nigeria would continue to value its relationship with South Africa, ”which is the second largest economy in Africa”, noting that 32 agreements and MoUs had been signed by both countries.
“We, in Nigeria, value the warm fraternal relations binding our two countries and cherish our Special Relationship. We consider South Africa an ally and a strategic partner.
“We need to implement those that have come into force, as well as to expedite necessary action to ratify the seven outstanding agreements that have not yet been brought into force.
“I welcome the robust Defence Cooperation between Nigeria and South Africa and call for more support and solidarity with us in our fight against terrorism and violent extremism.
“We also welcome the increased collaboration against arms and drug trafficking, money laundering and human trafficking,’’ he added.
In his remarks, President Ramaphosa said that the attacks on foreign nationals by his countrymen was regrettable.
He gave the Nigerian President the assurance that his government would do more to safeguard lives and property.