By Michael Eboh
The Federal Ministry of Transportation has entered into an agreement with Japan to promote investment in quality infrastructure in Nigeria.
The Ministry in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, said the agreement in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding, would also promote continuing cooperative relationship between Nigeria and Japan.
The statement noted that Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, signed the MoU with Japan’s State Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Tsukasa Akimoto in Abuja.
Speaking at the ceremony, Amaechi stated that Japan’s interest to partner Nigeria in infrastructural development was a welcome idea while he encouraged the Japanese to invest in other sectors of the economy.
He said, “You have identified the infrastructure deficit that is huge. We are a developing country, so there will be huge infrastructure deficit, and it offers Japan and Japanese Investors opportunity to come in.
“Currently we have American investors and Chinese investors that are coming into the economy. For us in Nigeria, we will be glad to see such investors.
“There are two types of investment that the Nigerian government encourage, there is one we ask government to government for a concessionary loan. Usually the concessionary loan interest rate is about 1.5 per cent so we will be glad if the Japanese government can come in as the Chinese government has come in.
“There is over 3,500 kilometre of rail. The Chinese have been able to do about 300 kilometres. Before the end of the year they will do another 1,200 kilometres to bring their own contribution to 1,500 kilometres which is concessionary loan.”
Continuing, Amaechi said, “We are talking with the Americans, but it is not a concessionary loan. They are bringing their investment and they will build 1,500 kilometre of rail including two seaports and they will be repaid by the profit they get from the investment. So we still have about 1,500 kilometres of rail. We will be glad if we can get concessionary loan from the Japanese government or get Japanese investors.
“There are other areas, even though am not in charge, like Power, Housing, Water, Works among others. So there is huge opportunity for Japanese investors in Nigeria.”
In his remarks, the Japanese minister, who was accompanied by the country’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Yutaka Kikuta, expressed excitement on the partnership between Japan and Nigeria in developing infrastructure.
Akimoto said, “As the State Minister in charge of infrastructure in Japan, I have been impressed that there is still a great deal scope for Japan to co-operate building the infrastructure in your country.
“As you all are aware, Japan is putting in a great deal of emphasis on providing high quality infrastructure and in that respect we are known in comparison to other countries such as China, Korea and European countries. If you look at the country cycle of infrastructure developed by the Japanese, ours is the most cost effective.
“You are aware that in the past there has been much discussion of Japan’s cooperation with Nigeria in providing the other railway and development plan in Lagos Island and we hope there will be more opportunities in the future for Japan to provide technical expertise and capacity building also to providing high quality infrastructure here in Nigeria