Jamaica, TT strengthen ties with Nigeria
Thursday, August 9 2012
PRIME Minister Portia Simpson Miller and president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, on August 3 held bilateral talks from which emerged agreement for strengthening cooperation in the areas of energy, trade, culture, education, and technical scientific cooperation.
Addressing a press conference at Jamaica House, the Prime Minister said both countries have also agreed to revive technical cooperation in oil. “We are also looking to further cooperation through the conclusion of an air service agreement allowing for Jamaica to serve as a gateway for Africa into the wider Caribbean region as well as a hub for goods and services,” Mrs Simpson Miller said.
Among other areas of agreement that will be pursued is the resumption of the Nigeria Technical Aid Corps Programme which allowed Nigerian professionals to be deployed to Jamaica to share their skills in fields such as nursing and education; energy, trade, air services, sports, culture and the resumption of the Jamaica-Nigeria Joint Commission and the Nigeria/Jamaica Business Forum.
“Cultural and educational exchanges, the sharing of best practices in sport and the boosting of trade, business and investment between our two countries are also areas in which we have agreed to explore for further cooperation.
I am confident that following our earlier discussions on these matters, our two countries will work fervently to move our cooperation agenda forward.
This will be facilitated by the next Jamaica-Nigeria Joint Commission which Jamaica expects to host in the near future” Mrs Simpson Miller explained.
The Prime Minister said it was agreed that Jamaica would participate in the First African Global Diaspora Summit as the country completely supports the movement towards greater cooperation, solidarity and involvement of the African Diaspora in development of the continent. “We also discussed a number of current international issues, including the Commonwealth, the reform and strengthening of that organisation to make it more robust in terms of its viability, its promotion of democracy, good governance, transparency and the rule of law. The reform of the global governance systems, particularly the United Nations Security Council was also a topic of significant interest,” the Prime Minister said.
Mrs Simpson Miller noted that the historical ties, excellent relations and strong bonds of friendship between the two countries have been celebrated and further strengthened arising from the visit. President Jonathan thanked the Government and Jamaican people for the opportunity to visit Jamaica and the warm reception noting Nigeria’s commitment to support Jamaica in of any area of interest.
Jonathan’s visit to Jamaica followed a two day state to Trinidad and Tobago. During that visit, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said she held bilateral discussions with Jonathan on a wide range of issues.
These included energy, culture, agriculture and the possibility of a bilateral air services agreement between TT and Nigeria.
At the start of bilateral talks with Johnathan at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s last Wednesday, Persad-Bissessar said: “I await the report from the Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs on the proposed Izombe Gas Processing Project between the National Gas Company (NGC), the National Energy Corporation and Phoenix Park Gas Processors Limited of TT and the National Petroleum Corporation of Nigeria.”
Sunday Newsday reported exclusively on July 29 that Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine indicated NGC and Phoenix Park were studying the possibility of an investment in a gas processing facility in Nigeria.
She also said the Arts Ministry and the National Carnival Commission “are readily available to offer technical assistance to Nigeria for the development of Abuja Carnival, as we have done in the past with Calabar and Lagos Carnivals.”
Persad-Bissessar added the newly formed Africa-TT Steel Pan Development Company would
“promote and develop the steel pan in Nigeria and throughout the African continent.”
Persad-Bissessar joined Simpson-Miller in Jamaica earlier this week to commemorate that country’s 50th anniversary of independence.