The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, 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.
Aganga said apart from the investment commitments and MoUs that were signed during the summit, most investors agreed that Nigeria had the most robust, clear and friendly policies on power, which other African nations should try to emulate.
“That was why when we met with the American automotive manufacturing giant, Ford, during the summit, they said 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 a well articulated sectoral policy.”
The minister added, “Also, the World Bank made a pledge of $5 billion for risk capital, preparation of projects and to invest in Nigeria overall. Most of these investments will be going to the power sector. This is coming into Nigeria because the country is ready to receive investors.
“On our plans going forward, we are looking forward to the re-formulation and re-modernisation of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). We are working on a national AGOA strategy in addition to raising the awareness of Nigerians to fully understand the benefits and opportunities that exist therein for them. Also, we will continue to engage with the United States under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in order to build and sustain the present momentum.”
“If you look at the people who participated in the summit, they cut across the different strata of the economy. The United States, especially President Obama, is focusing on power. So, overall, I see the major sectors of the Nigerian economy benefiting from Obama’s initiative. In the real sector, for example, we expect more investments coming into the agro-industrial sectors, textile and garment, palm oil, sugar and food processing generally,” he said.
“Nigeria will not and cannot sign, any agreement that will lead to loss of jobs, income and investments. These are our major priorities and concerns as a country and until EPA addresses these priorities and concerns, we will not sign any agreement with the European Union,” he reiterated.