Nigeria strengthens trade ties with US

Timothy Choji, Abuja.

Nigeria is to take crucial steps in addressing the problem of poverty in all parts of the country.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this in his remarks at the opening of a trade round table between Nigeria and the United States that took place at the Presidential Villa Abuja.

Professor Osinbajo said Nigeria has braced up for the challenges of poverty and dwindling oil revenue. As a result, the country is exploring all sources of trade and investment, in order to boost the country’s economy.

He said there are immense opportunities in agriculture, solid minerals and power that government is exploring, to diversify the economy.

“The opportunities are immense. The falling oil prices have a serious effect on our economy, which had largely depended on oil. We must therefore do something. It talks a lot about diversifying our economy. We are looking at agriculture and the entire agriculture value chain, we are looking at solid minerals and of course, investments in infrastructure, power, roads and education,” he said.

The Vice President said Nigeria was working hard to get the right policies.

He said all plans of government were currently concentrating on how to achieve inclusive growth for individuals and the country.

“A lot of our people are poor and we want to make sure that growth is inclusive and that it addresses the primary causes of poverty,” the Vice President stated.

Support

Vice President Osinbajo solicited support from the US, to facilitate the re-structuring of the Nigerian economy.

“As we engage with our friends from the US, we hope to be able to get some direction and help in addressing some of the concerns we have in terms of restructuring our economy and addressing some of the major concerns that Nigeria has,” he appealed.

Responding, head of the delegation and US Commerce Secretary, Ms Penny Pritzker, expressed her country’s readiness to improve on its trade relations with Nigeria.

Ms Pritzker said the strength of Nigeria’s economy makes it very viable and difficult for anyone to ignore.

She said the Presidential Advisory team on trade from the US was in Nigeria to better understand the economic situation of the country, in order to provide the needed recommendations to the US President on how to tackle the problem.

MS Pritzker said improved trade relations between the two countries can help address some of the issues raised by Vice president Yemi Osinbajo.

“Our private sector, in conjunction with the US and the government of Nigeria and her private sector can address some of the challenges that have been outlined. This will focus on growing the Nigerian economy and addressing poverty,” she said.

She said the delegation from US comprised of experts in various fields like agriculture, health, infrastructure and technology and many more.

The leader of the delegation, who described Nigeria as a strong ally of the US, said the team was in the country to explore the private sector.

The US Secretary of Commerce announced that the 2nd US-Africa business forum will hold in September in New York.

She said the US chose to announce the date for the forthcoming forum in Nigeria, to further buttress the good relationship that exists between the two countries.

 

UO