By Henry Umoru
THE Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Chris Cooter has disclosed that bilateral trade volume between Nigeria and Canada has risen well above $3 billion (N480 billion), just as Foreign Direct Investment, FDI from Canada to Nigeria has also tripled giving the same figure.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the Canadian High Commissioner who noted that the relationship between the two countries was very good, stressed that plans were on by his country for the nation’s health sector especially in the area of maternal and child health where over $40million has been earmarked for assistance, up from about $10 million.
Meanwhile, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur applauded the relationship between Nigeria and Canada, even as he expressed optimism that the relationship will get stronger with the establishment of a bilateral commission between the two countries.
He, however, appealed to the Ambassador to work towards reducing the difficulties faced by Nigerians in obtaining Canadian visa to enhance free movement of persons between the two countries and for business and investment to flourish. Ambassador Cooter who also told the PDP National Chairman that Canada was interested in investing in the area of mining in Nigeria, stressed that as a country which engages in that sector, it has over 350 mining companies.
According to him, Canada plans to build a huge vocational training centre in Nigeria as that will help train the youth in line with the vision of President Goodluck Jonathan to provide more employment opportunities for the people.
The Envoy, however, praised the positive role of Nigeria in world affairs especially what it has done in the resolution of the crisis in Cote D’Ivoire and Libya as well as its present effort in Mali and the nation’s stand on human rights and democracy.
The High Commissioner who disclosed that Nigeria will soon witness the visit of more high profile Canadians in the coming months and years, however, called for more cooperation between the two countries, adding: “I hope you will remember Canada even though a lot of countries are competing for your attention.”