Coming after the rebasing of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, some 20 American companies have expressed the desire to do business in the country, particularly in the energy sector.
United States Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, who is leading 20 American companies on an energy trade mission to Ghana and Nigeria, said that American companies would invest in countries that observe the rule of law, follow ethical standards and have good work environments.
Speaking at a gathering of business leaders in Lagos, Pritzker said Nigeria must take the tough steps that allow businesses to truly thrive by observing the rule of law, maintaining ethical standards, encouraging workforce training, abiding by workplace safety and protecting intellectual property.
She maintained that businesses must operate freely, devoid of unnecessary regulation, government interference and corruption, and provide conditions that will increase confidence among international and local business leaders and encourage further investments in Nigeria.
The commerce secretary also advised the government to sign the Government Procurement Agreement of the World Trade Organization, WTO, and urged other stakeholders to join hands with government in developing home grown solutions to the challenges facing the country.
“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,’’ she said.
Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Tony Elumelu, who spoke on behalf of the private sector, said the visit of the American commerce secretary was very strategic and underscores the importance that the US attaches to Nigeria.
“While the Nigerian people are proud that our oil is helping to power the biggest economies in the world, we are about so much more than oil resources, we are about agriculture; we are about telecoms; we are about real estate and hospitality; we are about entertainment; we are about banking and financial services and so much more,” he said.
Acknowledging that there have been sectorial reforms and rebuilding of regulatory capacity by the Nigerian government, Elumelu advised that efforts be made to tackle the manufacturing sector which at just 5 % of the national economy has a lot of room for growth.
“We need investors and partners and technical expertise to develop our supply chains, infrastructure and work force skills and American firms and entrepreneurs can help us to accomplish this and gain significant value for themselves,” he canvassed.