Nigeria to review bilateral treaty with Netherlands to improve economic ties
Nigerian Tribune | 7th June 2023
By Kazeem Biriowo
The Nigerian government and the Kingdom of Netherlands have engaged in an Economic Consultation to improve the existing bilateral investment treaty between both countries to strengthen economic interests and opportunities.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Adamu Lamuwa, at the opening of the Economic Consultation on Tuesday in Abuja, said that discussion would also be opened or the establishment of a joint Bi-national Commission.
Lamuwa, who was represented by the Director, Trade and Economic Relations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bolaji Akinremi said that the economic consultation was timely as rebuilding the nation’s economy is the focus of the new administration.
He explained that the gathering of professionals would foster productive dialogue on Nigeria-Netherlands Economic Cooperation, the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA), Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (ADTA), and other legal frameworks.
“During this Economic Consultation, Nigeria is willing to explore further areas of economic cooperation with the Netherlands in Agricultural value chain, secular economy, renewable energy, waterways management and water scarcity.
“Other areas are Oil and Gas, Special Economic Zones, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Trade facilitation in Western Africa, Science, Technology and Innovations (STI) Education and Health.
“Mines and Metallurgy, Arts and Crafts, Tourism, Creative and Entertainment Industry, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Aviation, Anti-Money Laundry and Counter Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) / General Security matters. Digital Economy and FINTECH.”
He noted that in spite of the long standing bilateral relations between Nigeria and the Netherlands, there was no Joint/Bi-National Commission Agreement between the two countries.
“Negotiation for the establishment of a Joint Commission has been inconclusive since 1987.
“Against this background, the Government of Nigeria would like to reopen the negotiation for the establishment of a Joint/Bi-National Commission Agreement, as this would further consolidate and boost the relations between the two countries,” he added.
In her remarks, the vice-minister for Foreign Trade of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Hanneke Schuiling, said the Dutch government attaches importance to strengthening the bilateral economic relationship with Nigeria, its fifth trading partner in Africa.
Ms Schuiling said that updating and modernizing the investment agreement between both countries will create a more stable and predictable investment environment.
“In this regard, we see a high potential in four areas in particular: –agriculture, IT, healthcare and renewable energy.
“As you may be aware, the current treaty was signed in 1992. Since then, both countries have experienced significant changes in their approach to international investments which can be adopted into a new treaty.
“It is important to modernize our treaty to reflect these changes. A modernized treaty can also foster stronger economic relations between our two nations.
“I hope we can seize the opportunity to mutually agree on a new investment treaty that reflects the evolving economic landscape and guarantees a fair and transparent investment climate for both parties.
“Firstly, we recognize the importance of promoting and protecting investments in both our countries. It is important that we facilitate investments and that we provide a transparent legal framework to investors. This will be crucial to fostering investor confidence.
“At the same time, we need to ensure that our respective governments’ right to regulate is enshrined in the treaty.
“Secondly, incorporating sustainable development and responsible business conduct in this treaty is another element that we feel is very important. These topics are increasingly important in trade and investment agreements.
“Thirdly, it is our ambition to include provisions for transparent and predictable dispute settlement procedures. This will provide both governments and investors with greater certainty and confidence in the investment process.”
Meanwhile, the Director General of Nigeria Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA),Bashir Jamoh said that the agency looked to partnering with the Netherlands as a maritime nation to develop Nigeria’s blue economy to become the nation’s main source of revenue.
“What we are advocating now is the issue of the blue economy, and already, the federal government has inaugurated a committee to look into ways of harnessing our blue economy.
“The Netherlands having been a maritime nation, they owe it a duty to join hands together and see how we can continue to build and expand our own fleets, the ships, small ships, the fishing trollers, passenger ferries, instead of using small canoes that every day we record accidents.
“The fishing industry used to give Nigeria the second largest income, today, because of the extinction of these fishing trollers we no longer have any sizable income from our fishing.
“We are doing what we can explore from the over 2.5 trillion dollars’ worth of ocean resources.”