By Juliet Umeh
Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo Tuesday, revealed that Nigeria was looking up to America and other countries of the world for a loan of up to $140 billion to tackle the infrastructure decay in the country.
Osinbajo said this is after the present government has spent up to N3.5 trillion in the last four years to fix infrastructure decay and still has not scratched the surface.
The Vice President, represented by the minister of trade and investments, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah spoke at the opening ceremony of the trade and investment expo exclusively for Nigeria and America, tagged USA Fair 2019 in Lagos.
He said government was making infrastructure revamping a priority in the next four years, just as it would also try to deploy modern infrastructure within same time frame, for job creation and ease of doing business in the country.
His words: “We are interested in building modern infrastructures. Our president has pointed that if we build infrastructure, Nigerians will do well. It is the singular most important thing we can do to create jobs.
“We spent over N3.5 trillion in the last three years. We are trying to figure out how to raise $140billion that Nigeria needs to catch up with infrastructure deficit over the next four years. This is what the government is taking a hard look at and thinking of how to partner great countries like America and other nations around the world”.
Osinbajo also stated that partnership with the USA, in this instance is so strategic, considering that the US has remained the largest economy in the world that cannot be ignored by any forward looking economy.
He added that “Nigeria also remained the largest economy in Africa and one that the USA cannot also ignore. So we both have responsibility to work together for the greater good of not just our two countries but the world at large.
“We are committed to nurturing and building this relationship. We want the best for both countries. This is the reason we have worked with our partners in Commercial Department to launch the commercial and investment dialogue.
“This is a high level engagement to our government and businesses for both Nigeria and US to eliminate critical hindrances to bilateral trade and investment.
“Last year, there was over 90 billion worth of investment interest to Nigeria. This year, we need to exceed that because we need a steady growth in investors’ confidence but this investor confidence must be converted. We are seeing some good signs, like Jumia listing on New York exchange, MTN on the Nigeria Stock Exchange and Microsoft announcing plans to launch a development centre in Lagos. While all these are refreshing, we don’t think we are near our potential at all; we really need more, that is why this Fair is important and I have to tell you that we are extremely hungry to achieve more for the people”.
Meanwhile, the US Ambassador, Mr. Stuart Symington, said the American and Nigerian economies have much in common, including an intense entrepreneurial drive, a firm commitment to free market principles and a clear vision for doing well by doing good.
He said: “USA Fair 2019 is a prime opportunity to celebrate these mutual ideals and to drive both our economies forward through increasing trade and investment that have already put more people to work in both nations.”