The US Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, recently led a high level delegation of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa on a fact-finding, policy-oriented visit to Nigeria to review the opportunities and challenges of investment in the country. The main objective is to enhance trade and investment with Nigeria and other African countries.
During the visit, Commerce Secretary Pritzker and her delegation held a Roundtable and Lunch on 25 January, 2016, with the President, Dr Lazarus Angbazo, and Members of the American Business Council, a business association consisting of US companies operating in Nigeria. The sectors covered at the deliberations spanned Oil & Gas, Power, Agriculture, Financial & Banking Services, Healthcare, Transportation and Information Communication Technology (ICT). The state of the Nigerian economy was discussed and proposals were made on how to improve performance in the identified sectors as well as the economy as a whole.
It was also noted at the Roundtable/Lunch that of the over 70 large American companies operating in Nigeria, a survey showed that the cumulative amount of direct investment committed to the country by just 11 of them since 2011 totaled $10.9 billion, taxes paid to the Federal Government in 2014 amounted to $5.1 billion, while the number of Nigerians employed stood at 24,104. It was further observed that the projected new direct investment by the 11 companies in the next 12 months in a perfect policy and regulatory environment will be about $3.9 billion. There was consensus that efforts should be deployed to encourage more US companies to invest in the non-oil sector in line with the policy focus of Government to diversify the Nigerian economy.
In his remarks after the session, Dr Lazarus Angbazo, stated that “The deliberations at the Roundtable have greatly enhanced the natural affinity and spirit of cooperation between Nigeria and the US at a critical juncture of the nation’s development. He opined that Nigeria will weather the current economic storm provided urgently required investments in basic infrastructure and human capital development are made in an enabling business environment.”