President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that his administration will not terminate the ongoing privatization programme in the energy sector initiated by his predecessor in the country.
Buhari made the declaration in Washington DC, United States, while addressing a business forum organized by the U.S Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Council on Africa. He assured that instead of termination, the privatization programme will be expanded to include other sectors. “We are continuing in major privatization programme with sectors ranging from telecommunication, energy, gas, solid minerals, aviation, health and infrastructural development, but with improved moral architecture,” Buhari said.
He stressed that his government will embark on policies that will improve the business climate as well as remove hurdles for investors in the country. “It is my intention to create the necessary environment for future investment in Nigeria. We are the most populous nation with largest market in Africa with vast human and natural resources and blessed with abundant young and skilled workforce. We are therefore a proud candidate to become the destination of choice for United States’ investments in Africa,” he said.
The President challenged American Investors to take advantage of the liberal trade and investment climate to do profitable businesses in Nigeria, stressing that his government will work assiduously to welcome new investors into the country. His words: “We will also simplify visa procedures based on principle of reciprocity. May I therefore, seize this opportunity to formally invite the American business community to take advantage of our liberal trade and investment climate to do profitable business in Nigeria.”
The President further noted that while he recognizes the pivotal role of government in facilitating and promoting economic growth, the private sector must assume an increasing role as part of the engine of growth. “We will welcome genuine investors who are willing to come to Nigeria for solid mineral exploitation.”
According to Buhari, his administration would fulfil its key campaign promises which include creation of employment opportunities for millions of Nigerian youths. He said: “Generating employment was one of my key campaign promises. I will do my best to keep this promise. There is no other way to expand economic opportunities and create employment opportunities for millions of our youths than boosting domestic manufacturing, undertaking infrastructural development and industrialization. Let me repeat, Nigeria will partner with genuine investors who are willing to join us to achieve our economic objective and at the same time realize handsome returns to recoup their investments. There is more to Nigeria than oil. This is why I will continue to stress the need for increased United States investments in our non-oil sector.”
President Buhari said that against this background, the present administration will be attentive to the needs of the business community and pursue policy that will strengthen the sectors that drive the growth.
By Olisemeka Obeche