By Mahmud Jika
The Nigerian government have commenced plans to leverage on President Barack Obama’s $14bn investment pledge to Africa for an effective financing structure for infrastructure in the country.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, and the US Commerce Secretary, Penny Pritzker, agreed during a bilateral meeting at the just-concluded US-Africa Summit that increased investment in the area of infrastructure would further improve the Nigerian business environment, noting that Obama’s focus on power was particularly encouraging.
While the two countries agreed to work on the financial structure for infrastructure within the next few weeks, Pritzer noted that US companies were eager to do business in Nigeria due to the ongoing reforms in critical sectors, adding that they could also leverage on the US export assistance facilities scattered around the country.
Aganga, who spoke to journalists in Washington DC during the summit, said apart from the investment commitments and the Memoranda of Understanding that were signed during the summit, most investors agreed that Nigeria had the most robust, clear and friendly policies
on power, which other African countries should try to emulate. He said, “This means we already have an enabling environment that will encourage more investors to come and invest in the sector.
In fact, what these investors were saying was that most of our sectoral policies, which we have put in place, have encouraged them to come and invest in Nigeria.
“That was why when we met with the American automotive manufacturing giant, Ford, during the summit, they said that they wanted to come to Nigeria as quickly as possible because of our new automotive policy.
If the new auto policy was not in place, Ford would not be talking about coming to invest in Nigeria. That is the value you get as a country when you have a proper industrial plan and well-articulated sectorial policy.”