President Muhammadu Buhari has canvassed for a robust security cooperation between Nigeria and South Korea.
Speaking during a bilateral meeting with his Korean counterpart, Mr. Yoon Suk-Yeol, at the presidential palace in Seoul on the sidelines of the First World Bio Summit, the president said he looked forward to enhanced defence and security cooperation with the Republic of Korea.
Commenting on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea to which Korean ships had fallen victim, Buhari noted that the level of attacks had decreased considerably over the last one year due to the provision of equipment to the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) by the Nigerian government, while also commending the Korean government for the supply of a vessel to the Navy.
Buhari expressed Nigeria’s desire to widen the scope of trade relations with the Republic of Korea beyond gas exports.
He called for expansion from the long-term gas contract to other areas.
The president, who thanked his Korean counterpart for inviting him to address the World Bio Summit, also appreciated him for expressing sympathy with Nigerians on the flood disaster.
Earlier, Suk-Yeol had sympathised with Buhari over the massive havoc and human losses caused by flood in his country.
He described Nigeria as Africa’s largest economy and cultural powerhouse that produces huge number of films, expressing confidence that Nigeria’s economic and cultural capabilities would contribute significantly to exchanges and cooperation between both countries.
Both leaders also discussed the need for cooperation at the multilateral level, particularly at the United Nations with South Korea indicating interest to vie for a seat on the Security Council in 2024 and seeking Nigeria’s support.
Similarly, the Korean leader sought Nigeria’s support for her country’s plan to host the 2030 EXPO.
The issue of peace on the Korean Peninsula, demilitarisation and denuclearisation of the region also featured in the bilateral talks.
Also on Wednesday, Buhari had charged top Korean business executives to increase their investments in Nigeria, while his Administration would continue to make determined efforts to improve the enabling domestic environment for businesses to flourish.
Addressing representatives of strategic Korean companies and industries on the sidelines of the World Bio Summit 2022 in the Republic of Korea capital, the president declared that Nigeria remains committed to creating a stable and enabling business environment for foreign investors through the formulation of sound economic policies and improved governance.
He added that security forces have been working assiduously with local communities to ensure the security of lives and properties of Nigerians and foreign investors.
According to him, “our administration, has prioritized Power infrastructure under the Presidential Power Initiative.
“In this regard, Nigeria has procured modern power equipment which was inaugurated in September 2022 as part of the phased project to generate 25,000 megawatts of electricity by 2025. Furthermore, to ensure ease in clearing of cargo, giant strides have been digitalised of the processes in our Sea-Ports as well as airports.”
Making a case for the country as investment friendly and choice destination, Buhari further highlighted that, with a nominal GDP of $431.97 billion, Nigeria’s economy remains the largest in Africa with vast human capital and natural resources.
“The steady improvement from the global economic downturn of 2020 indicates that the Nigerian economy is on firm path of recovery. I implore you therefore, to take advantage of the many investment opportunities in Nigeria, especially in the areas of oil and gas, trade, manufacturing, ICT, creative industry and culture exchange. It is worthy of emphasis to underscore that the business environment in Nigeria offers low corporate tax regime/ VAT rates, flexible labour market conditions and simple procedures for establishing businesses.”
Acknowledging some significant investments by Korean companies in Nigeria in the fields of construction or heavy duty industries, ICT and electronics as well as chemical production estimated as at 2021 at no fewer than 20 registered companies in Nigeria, among which are the Samsung, Deawoo and Hyundai Heavy Duty Industries as well as the LG and Samsung electronics and the Lotte Chemical industry, the Nigerian president expressed delight that these companies have continued to contribute immensely to the growth of the Nigerian GDP and have created job opportunities in the country.
According to him, “I look forward to increased investments by Korean private companies in Nigeria as we resolve the issues of enabling relevant agreements such as Investment Promotion and Avoidance of Double Taxation between our two countries.”
He expressed hope that his engagements with Korean economic operators in priority areas would be mutually beneficial to both countries and their peoples.
Among captains of Industry that made remarks at the event were Byung-Kwan KIM, Chairman Korean Importers Association, Mr. Sam Ka, CEO Korea Ship Building and Offshore Engineering, Mr Seung Il Chow, Chief Operating Officer of Daewoo Engineering and Construction, Mr. Jaycee Jung, President/CEO, Samsung Heavy Industries, and Sang Ho Shiu, CEO, Kelon Group.