Jul 30 2012
From Oghogho Obayuwana, Abuja
Beside the restitution of the nation’s cash cow-the Niger Delta, investment drive and the creation of job opportunities are part of the objectives of the U.S.-Nigeria Bi-National Commission (BNC), which was relaunched in April 2010.
The investment facilitating offer, which was revealed recently by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja, was guaranteed by the U.S. Export Import Bank to “support American businesses investing in Nigeria.”
The ministry’s Director, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Muoh, who made the disclosure, also said at a pre-event luncheon for participants of the Nigeria-America Business Investment Summit, in Abuja, that American Corporations, as well as those from Europe and Asia were encouraged to help sustain the enabling environment created by the new foreign policy which had economic determinism and attraction of foreign investment as its main thrust.
He explained that the Nigerian-American Business Summit, which was scheduled to hold in the U.S. in August, was convened, “in line with the transformation agenda of the Jonathan administration to expose opportunities which exist in Nigeria to foreign investors.”
According to him, American businesses “are now being encouraged to come into Nigeria to set up mutually beneficial ventures to fully develop the Nigerian economy.
“The Export and Import Bank of America has guaranteed a loan of over $1.5 billion for American companies that are coming into Nigeria…. If they have to do any business in Nigeria that loan has guaranteed whatever they want to bring into Nigeria. We now have the opportunity to tell our people that these are opportunities that abound. We want light 24 hours, we want our telecommunications to be the best in the world, we want our youths to be employed, and we want our road infrastructure to be good,” he added.
The Project Director, Nigeria-America Business Summit, Funsho Abiri, however stressed that American businesses were eager to meet only genuine Nigerian businessmen to partner with.
He said: “We have not less than 75 private institutions in the U.S. waiting to do business with Nigerians plus government agencies of the United States both the State Department, EXIM Bank overseas private investment corporation and the rest of them are eagerly waiting to do business with Nigerian business men.”
The Abuja luncheon was organised by the Transcontinental Group, in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru, said at the event recently that the Federal Government, was keen to “explore only partnerships that will strengthen the Nigerian economy.”
Represented by a Special Assistant, Alhaja Kafilat Ogbara the minister said: “As you know in any country whether developed or developing, private investment has been recognised as the critical factor in economic growth and development.”
According to minister, what was playing out was a corollary to the ministry’s insistence that envoys paid the desired attention “to deploying all our foreign relations instruments to propel our economic programme.”
Government, he maintained, was keen to “promote regional cooperation and development that creates opportunities and delivers results for all the people of the Niger Delta and Nigerians in general.”
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