President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has called on the Government of the United States (U.S.) to take its rightful place in trade and investment relationship with the country.
Saraki made the call while addressing the United States Chamber of Commerce on ‘Doing Business and Opportunities in Nigeria’ as part of a parliamentary visit to Washington DC by a National Assembly delegation at the weekend.
The President of the Senate, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, stated that huge investment opportunities exist in Agriculture, Financial Technology (Fintech), Infrastructure, Health and oil and gas in the country that promise huge return on investment for any investor.
Saraki said: “The unique history of Nigeria and the United States, make it imperative that she should remain by far our biggest and closest trade and investment partner. The evolving new vision for the Nigeria economy is within this context of our relationship matrix with the United States as we share similar and converging values.
“However, in recent times, it would appear that China has been the more willing and enthusiastic partner for business and investment. China has already invested or financed a total number of $22billion projects $45bn in Nigeria with another $40b ready for the next phase of infrastructure financing and investments.
“China is approaching Nigeria and the African continent as an investment destination and offering very soft loans to the continent. We are indeed happy. But we are also aware that this is the primary place reserved for our core allies like the United States. We want to see the united States and investors like you here, to development a new lens for assessing Africa.
“We appreciate the aids and humanitarian gestures we receive, but it is no longer enough and in our mutual best interest to continue to ignore the vast opportunity for trade and investment on the continent particularly in Nigeria. We want to see the United States successful with Nigeria diplomatically and economically,” he stated.
He noted that while Nigeria is one of the Sub-Saharan countries eligible for preferential trade agreements under the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) of the U.S. Congress, but going forward, the country intends to exit AGOA at some point into a full fledged trade agreement based trade relations.
“Thus, I urge you to take away from our conversations today to better harness the potentials of our investments, your approach to doing business with us has to be strategic and purposeful. We are opening up avenues for private sector to come in and play their own part,” he stated.
He further stated that the present leadership of the country is not unmindful of the security challenges confronting the nation as it has since commenced action to reform its security architecture in order to boost security for everyone in Nigeria.
He said: “Indeed, we see the challenges as underscoring the urgent need for radical action on our part as Nigerian leaders. We are determined to bridge the gap of economic disparity in Nigerian society, so as to lift 87 million people out of poverty while creating opportunities and prosperity across board.
“To do this successfully requires you, our partners, and investors, to join hands with us to build viable cooperation and partnership that will be of benefit to our two nations. Nigeria’ success holds the key to the success of Africa.
“Our vision is to ensure that we form the nucleus upon which Africa can attain collective and sustained development. In order to do this, Africa needs you and we look forward to working with you,” he stated.