Saraki: NASS Working to Increase Private Sector Participation in Economy
Other members of the delegation led by the ABC Co-Chair and Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, included the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington, Chairman of Zenith Bank, Mr. Jim Ovia, President of the ABC, Mr. Scott Eisner and several other board members.
The President of the Senate was was joined by Majority Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, Deputy Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah and 13 other Senators.
The President of the Senate said that “trade and job creation through trade is a two-way street and that the National Assembly is open to listening to ideas about how to further the cooperation between Nigeria and the U.S. private sector.”
Over the past two years, Nigeria has invested heavily in the agriculture sector as an integral initiative to diversify the economy.
Saraki said that “obviously we have invested too much to change our national strategy. The current challenge is how do we attract investment to grow the industries within the agriculture sector.”
Several members of the delegation thanked the President of the Senate for his leadership on economic reform issues and in undertaking a review for recommendations to enhance Nigeria’s ICT sector.
IBM announced at the meeting that the company will soon commence its Digital Nation training program in Africa where they seek to train some 25 million people—mostly in Nigeira—for “new collar jobs.”
The Senate President applauded the project and commended the companies for their efforts to train young Nigerians.
“Nigeria’s ability to grow the economy with jobs is a national priority” Saraki said. “ICT development is the way to develop employment and skills training opportunities for many young people in Nigeria and we must continue to work together to create the enabling environment to realize this potential.”
He also welcomed the Co-Chair of the Africa Business Center, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, to the National Assembly and commended him for his contributions that helped shape the Senate’s Economic Legislative Agenda through his participation in a business leader‘s roundtable in Lagos in September 2016.
According to Mr. Eisner, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce represents three million U.S. companies. “The creation of the ABC represents a new era of economic engagement. It is intended to help breakdown market barriers for increased U.S.-Nigeria trade and investment.”
On his part, the leader of the delegation, Dangote, said the visit to the President of the Senate and the Leadership of the Senate by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Africa Business Centre was meant to discuss things of interest “as they affect Nigeria, Africa and the United States.”
“There are a lot of things in terms of what other companies are doing in terms of job creation, training, Africans in ICT and also how to improve the situation and get most of the U.S. companies to come and be involved in agriculture where Nigeria can have food security and be major exporters of food items rather than importing food,” Dangote said.