US Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker has called for more US investment in Nigeria as she leads 20 American companies on an energy business development trade mission to West Africa between May 18 and 23.
Pritzker however noted that companies in the US would only invest in countries that keep ethical standards, have good working environments and also observe the rule of law.
“Nigeria needs to take the tough steps that allow businesses to truly thrive,” the US Secretary said.
She added that encouraging workforce training and protecting intellectual property are other factors American companies look out for in a country they would invest in.
According to her, companies must be allowed to a good extent, to operate without being disturbed with unnecessary regulation. Corruption and government interference in businesses should also be eradicated as this will increase investors’ confidence in the country and encourage influx of more foreign investment.
Pritzker therefore advised Nigeria to sign the Government Procurement Agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which will regulate the procurement of goods and services by the government, thereby encouraging transparency and reducing corruption.
She also urged Nigeria as well as business leaders and leaders of civil society groups to cooperate in finding home-grown solutions to the country’s challenges.
“I believe that together we can, must, and will move toward strengthening our security, promote democracy, spur more trade, investment and economic opportunity to benefit Nigerian citizens,’’ said Pritzker.
Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings spoke on behalf of the private sector at the gathering of business leaders.
The Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation said the visit of the US Commerce Secretary and the companies emphasizes the level of importance attached to Nigeria by the world powerhouse.
He noted that although Nigeria is proud of its oil and what it has been able to do for its major importers like the US, there is more to Africa’s largest economy than just oil.
“We are about agriculture, we are about telecoms, we are about real estate and hospitality, we are about entertainment, we are banking and financial services and so much more,” Elemelu said.
The entrepreneur said several reforms are ongoing to improve the nation’s manufacturing sector which has a lot of growth potential, hence the need for investors and partners with the requisite skill and capacity for the development of the sector to key into these opportunities as they also help us grow.
The delegation also visited Ghana as part of the energy business development trade mission.