President Muhammadu Buhari has described the United States as Nigeria’s main trading partner and one of ‘‘our most important diplomatic partners,” underscoring the need to increase bilateral trade volume.
His media aide Femi Adesina, in a statement, said Mr Buhari stated this at a meeting with the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) at the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum. The meeting was held on the margins of the 77th UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday.
The Nigerian leader told the gathering that in 2020, Nigeria exported over $1.69 billion worth of goods to the U.S., primarily made up of crude oil and other petroleum products.
”Nigeria’s capability is not just limited to the oil and gas industry, but variety of other sectors that hold notable potentials. We are the largest economy in Africa and have over 200 million-strong consumer market that is home to a range of attractive opportunities in sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, light manufacturing, infrastructure development and technology,” the statement said.
It added, “The beauty of this forum is that the Ministers responsible for all of these sectors are here today, as are some of Nigeria’s premier business leaders who are already excelling in these spaces.”
According to Mr Buhari, Nigeria is open to deepening collaboration with BCIU and pledged this administration’s continued commitment to maintaining an enabling business environment that is friendly to foreign investors.
According to Mr Buhari, global supply chains are currently facing a challenging time as U.S. shippers have been under strain caused by reduced inputs from China and the growing backlog of European imports caused by the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
“The current global challenges are expected to continue into 2023 and beyond, but Nigeria is ready to fill a greater amount of global demand. We are leveraging on our skilled labour force, strategic location, as well as production and manufacturing potential to move forward as a key trading partner to the United States,” Mr Buhari explained. “I have always held the strong conviction that there is no crisis without an accompanying opportunity and solution.”
The president noted that since signing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, Nigeria had strengthened its position as a gateway to an integrated continental market, consisting of 1.3 billion consumers with an aggregate GDP of $3.4 trillion.
To drive forward our manufacturing and production capacity, we have developed 17 operational special economic zones, with four more currently under construction,” the Nigerian leader stated. “Fourteen of these are general economic zones which support export processing, large-scale manufacturing, warehousing, logistic services, tourism, food processing and packaging as well as technology development. The remaining three are dedicated to oil and gas-related activities.”
He also mentioned that the development of three automotive industrial parks had commenced to encourage the local assembly of vehicles for the Pan-African market.
Source: Peoples Gazette.