American companies in Nigeria have advised that infrastructure development and intelligence on counter-terrorism should be part of agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s meeting with his U.S. counterpart, Mr Donald Trump.
The companies are operating under the umbrella of the American Business Council (ABC), an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The ABC Executive-Secretary, Mrs Margaret Olele, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Lagos.
NAN reports that a statement by the White House revealed that Trump wants Buhari to meet him on April 30 to discuss issues on terrorism, economic growth and Nigeria’s role as a leader in West Africa.
Olele said that discussions should centre on U.S. collaboration with Nigeria on infrastructure development to enhance foreign direct investment in Nigeria.
“Infrastructure is a critical issue that is impacting on people doing business in Nigeria or investors seeking to come and do business.
“There has been inadequate financing of infrastructure, which cuts across all sectors, especially transportation, energy and production.
“Having good road network, rail system and stable energy will encourage investment.
“It sounds like a broken record but that is the reality,’’ she said.
According to the ABC scribe, Nigerian Government can seek to collaborate with U.S. Government in getting organisations such as the General Electric to invest more in power and transportation.
She said that discussions should also focus on how both countries could work on bilateral trade in non-oil merchandise and services and how to drive intelligence on counter-terrorism.
The secretary mentioned that the issues bordered on the security of lives and property – a critical concern in investment.
“Doing this will create an environment for investment from U.S. companies in Nigeria.’’
Olele said that the synergy would impact positively on the economy of both countries.
“Nigeria has the potential, with a large population and the largest GDP in Africa totalling $76.2 billion in 2017.
“Population of 195 million people tells a good story.
“Nigeria offers the largest trade market in Africa and its total trade stood at $75.9 billion in 2016.
“In fact, Nigeria is the largest trade partner with the U.S. in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Its trade accounted for as much as 44.8 per cent of total U.S. trade of $79.7 billion trade with Africa in 2007.
“However, this declined to the lowest level in recent years with Nigeria accounting for only 20.3 per cent of total U.S. trade of $36.2 billion with the region in 2016,’’ Olele said.
According to her, there are opportunities for collaboration to boost trade between both countries.
She said that the impact of U.S. companies operating in Nigeria had added value to the nation’s energy future, economic output, investment, jobs and communities.
According to her, a survey conducted by the council on 48 U.S. companies operating in Nigeria revealed that they generated N1 trillion as revenue in 2016.
The companies spent N340 million on training, N34.4 billion was contributed as tax revenue to Nigeria’s economy while N217 million was spent on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Olele said that there were many more opportunities for partnership between both countries that would drive investment, boost trade, enhance knowledge transfer and counter-terrorism.
NAN reports that ABC was incorporated in 2007 to promote development of commerce and investments between U.S. and Nigeria.
The council is a voice for all U.S. companies operating in Nigeria and the first point of call for U.S. investors coming to Nigeria.