The Federal Government has taken some steps to woo some United States of American investors for road construction and other infrastructural development in the Nigerian transport sector. This emerged as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, disclosed that he would be leading Nigerian delegates to the inaugural Nigeria-America Investment summit, which would hold in Atlanta Georgia, United States of America (U.S.A.)
Ashiru, who was represented by his Special Assistant, Mrs. Kafilat Ogbara, at a forum in Lagos last week, disclosed that the aim of the investment forum in U.S. was to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Nigerian economy.
The pre-event conference in Lagos, which was organized by Tricontinental Group in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was to educate prospective genuine business leaders willing to participate in the Nigeria-America Business and Investment Summit scheduled to take place in Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, Atlanta, USA between 21 and 22, 2012.
The Head of Tricontinental Group, Chief Bintan Famotimi, described the forum as an opportunity to open up existing investment sources from the USA to the Nigeria business community in order to assist in the achievement of match-making between the two countries.
This, according to him, would help to boost foreign direct investment (FDI) from the USA.
Famotimi said: “The Minister accepted to chair the pre-event session so as to seek the support of the business community on the need to diversity from oil export to non-oil export needed to reverse the declining volume of trade between the USA and Nigeria.”
He explained that the boost in volume of trade will be made possible through existing platforms such as AGOA, Trade and investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) and Nigeria-America Bilateria Commission (BNC).
He lamented that the Export-Import (EXIM) bank had dedicated $1.5 billion for the Nigerian Economy which is yet to be fully utilized.
While stating that this was due to lack of collaboration among business leaders from Nigeria and USA, he said: “This unutilized fund would help to address challenges in the manufacturing, mining, medical and security challenges in Nigeria.
“We have designed a strategy for selection of genuine business leaders in each state through their governors and Governor’s forum, Organised Private Sector (OPS) and Nigeria-America Chambers of Commerce,” he stressed.
Famotimi stressed that the summit would focus on driving investment to the transportation sector of the Nigerian economy.
He said: “State Governors are ready to take advantage of this summit to attract investors to develop the transport sector in their respective states through concession.”
Jonathan Chikezie of International Department, Foreign Affairs Ministry, argued that there is need to mobilize indigenous investors to move the economy forward.
Chikezie said: “The indigenous investors must collaborate with the foreign investors to drive the economy. Foreign investors are interested in equity where local investors will provide some fund while the foreign counterparts will provide the remaining fund.”