THE United States (U.S.) Ambassador to Nigeria, Terence P. McCulley, at the weekend hinted at what may have been obstructing adequate investment from America into Nigeria.
Addressing members of the diplomatic community, government officials and others during the 235th anniversary of the American independence on Friday night in Abuja, McCulley stressed that beyond pronouncements, Nigeria must create an enabling environment and a serious fight of corruptive tendencies and more openness in governmentâ€™s transactions.
Also, the Canadian Envoy to Nigeria, Mr. Chris Cooter, has highlighted how Nigeria can benefit from his countryâ€™s expertise in the areas of electricity generation, manufacturing and mining.
Maintaining that what the U.S. wanted from Nigeria was partnership and not dependency, the U.S. envoy said: â€śIf Nigeria can create an enabling environment, including a frontal assault on corruption and lack of transparency, I am convinced you will find American businesses and investors eager to enter the largest market in sub-Saharan Africa, creating jobs here in Nigeria while offering expertise, innovation and some of the worldâ€™s finest products.â€ť
Noting that the private sector must be the engine of economic growth, the U.S. envoy said: â€śAs you work together to move Nigeria forward, addressing the challenges of governance, of corruption, and of the power sector, as you seek to diversify the Nigerian economy, encouraging investments in agriculture, in manufacturing, in information technology; and as you move to meet security challenges which threaten Nigeriaâ€™s prosperity and seek to sow divisions among the countryâ€™s communities, know that you have the friendship and partnership of the government and people of the United States.â€ť
He spoke further on the broad relations between Nigeria and the U.S.: â€śAs you consolidate your democratic institutions and rebuild your economy, the United States stands ready to deploy its programmes and resources in support of your national priorities from public health to education, from food security to national security and from public health to education, from food security to national security and from the battle to contain malaria to the daily struggles of the millions of Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS... At the same time, notwithstanding the generosity of the American people, the United States has not been spared from the worldwide economic crisis. Nigeria is a country blessed with both abundant human and natural resources, and we therefore seek partnership not dependency; we seek to build capacity not undermine local initiative.â€ť
Responding on behalf of the government of Nigeria, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim, said he was strongly persuaded by the opportunities in the new Nigerian dream.
Anyim said: â€śThere will be major institutional changes in Nigeria. Government will block the loopholes and opportunities for corruption.â€ť
He said the Nigeria-U.S. bilateral relations places great value on the beneficial returns to both Nigerian and U.S. citizens as they seek to tackle together the issues of food security, energy and the fight against malaria.
According to the SGF, the U.S.-Nigeria bi-national commission is â€śan important testament to our fruitful ties. Our President Goodluck Jonathan would soon unravel a transformation agenda which will be to the benefit of all.â€ť
The Canadian high commissioner said at an evening luncheon at the weekend in Abuja to mark his countryâ€™s 144th independence anniversary that Canadian expertise was being made available to Nigeria.
The sectors represent areas where improvements are badly needed by Nigeria in order to ensure a thriving economy that is not mono-cultural and help meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the end.
Noting that bilateral relations between Canada and Nigeria had improved considerably since the return to democratic rule 1999, Cooter noted that his home government had been at the forefront of promoting democratic values in Nigeria, a drive that led to the decision to severe ties with Nigeria in the dying years of the late Gen. Sani Abacha regime.
According to him, â€śCanada is one of the few developed nations that are net exporters of energy. Like Nigeria, we have a vast reserve of oil and gas deposits...We are also into manufacturing of several products which most of you may not know. It is most likely you have flown in Canadian made aircraft, some of the black berry (mobile) phones that are so popular here today, are made in Canada.â€ť
The high commissioner also expressed his nationâ€™s willingness to share its expertise in the manufacturing, mining and energy sectors. He promised that â€śvery soonâ€ť Canadian mining companies may be looking at opportunities in Nigeria with the aim of helping to strengthen and diversify Nigeriaâ€™s economy.