The Federal Government has called for the abolition of visa requirement among the members of the Developing Eight (D-8) Countries Organisation for Economic Cooperation to ensure free movement of people and trade.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call when he met with the Secretary General of the organisation, Dr Seyed Ali-Mohammed, on Wednesday, in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the D-8 countries are Nigeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey.
The minister said: “One area that I think D8 must to work on and if really they want to succeed, they must make sure that there is no barrier in term of visa among those eight countries.
“You cannot grow any trade talk less of tourism, if I cannot have easy access to Malaysia, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan.
“You can imagine the volume of trade that will develop over night if only you can make sure that if I want to go to Iran that there is bilateral agreement between Nigeria and Iran, between Nigeria and Pakistan and among those eight countries that there will be free movement of people.
“It is free movement of people that will guarantee free movement of trade.
“So, this is one area that I believe that you need to work hard on.”
Mohammed, who commended the organisation’s focus on tourism development, said the provision of infrastructure was critical to the development of domestic tourism.
According to him, “until you develop domestic tourism, you cannot have international tourism”.
In his remarks, Ali-Mohammed said the purpose of his visit was to intimate the minister about the organisation’s resolve to focus on tourism development as the area of cooperation among member countries.
He said: “The meeting today I am enthusiastic about tourism.
“Very recently, on the proposal of member states, we came to conclusion that tourism or so could be one of our priority areas.”