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By ZamChro Correspondent

Nigeria and Zambia have inaugurated a joint permanent commission of co-operation to strengthen their economic and bilateral ties.

The minister of state for foreign affairs, Amb. Bagudu Hirse, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said two agreements were signed at the inauguration which took place in Lusaka on April 28.

“The two agreements were on the establishment of Joint Commission and Renewal of the Technical Aid Corps (TAC) Scheme,’’ he said.

The minister disclosed that the other agreement that was considered but not signed was the Certification of Products and Services which the Standard   Organisation of Nigeria (SON) submitted to the Zambian Bureau of Standard.

Hirse said the aviation authorities of the two countries expressed the need to conclude the Bilateral Air Services Agreement as soon as possible and to conclude negotiations on designation carriers, frequency and route allocation.

“On Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, the Zambian side said that they were considering the Nigerian draft with the assurance that they are interested in the agreement,’’ he said.

He said there was a draft Memorandum of Understanding aimed at promoting scientific and technical co-operation in the areas of standardisation, meteorology, quality assurance, conformity assessment, testing and inspection, accreditation and training.

“There is also a draft on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs matters to the Zambian Customs services,’’ he said.

Hirse, who expressed satisfaction at the increase in investment profile of some Nigerian companies in the Zambia, said the development would bring improved economic development to the two countries.

“Dangote Group of Companies has commenced construction of two cement plants in Zambia, while Access Bank Plc has started operations in 2008.

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