Nigeria’s Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga
The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Chris Cooter, has said Canada is currently working on strategies aimed at increasing its Foreign Direct Investment in Nigeria within the next few years due to enhanced confidence in the local economy.
Cooter disclosed this during a meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, in Abuja.
Present at the meeting were Senior Executives of SNC Lavalin, Canada’s biggest engineering and construction company, led by the company’s Executive Vice-President, Mr. Michael Novak, and Senior Vice-President, Product and Market Growth, Dr. Mark Hall.
Cooter noted that as part of efforts to strengthen trade and investment relationship between the two countries, more Canadian companies had already indicated their willingness to invest in infrastructural projects across Nigeria.
He explained that the move was a follow-up to the Nigeria-Canada Bi-National Commission meeting held between the Minister of Trade and Investment; Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, in Abuja recently.
He said, “Today, there is a wind of change going on in Nigeria’s investment landscape which is being driven by the Minister of Trade and Investment. Therefore, we are looking at areas where Canadian companies can invest in Nigeria and how they can form partnerships in Nigeria in line with the Nigeria-Canada Bi-National Commission.”
Speaking during the meeting, Aganga said the Federal Government would partner genuine investors who are willing to invest in critical sectors of the economy such an infrastructure, mining, petrochemical and agri-business, in order to create jobs for the Nigerian people.
He said, “We have a big infrastructure deficit in Nigeria and that is why the federal government is very concerned to bridge the gap by developing the critical infrastructure required to drive our industrial development, especially in those areas where we have comparative and competitive advantage such as mining, petrochemical, agri-business and even the Small and Medium Enterprises sector.
“We are ready to work with foreign investors who are interested in investing in infrastructure projects. For those who are interested in Public Private Partnership in the area of infrastructure development, we will link them up with key government agencies such the Infrastructure Concession and Regulation Commission and other ministries or agencies for the necessary action,” he added.
Also speaking during the meeting, Novak said the company would explore the Public Private Partnership option to invest in key infrastructural projects in Nigeria.
He said, “Founded in 1911, SNC–Lavalin has been active internationally for 50 years, establishing a multicultural network that spans every continent. The SNC-Lavalin companies have offices across Canada and in over 35 countries around the world. We are currently working in 100 countries. We have a very strong record in dealing with governments across the world as partners in Public Private Partnerships.
“Currently, we have about 20 major projects around the world. We own and operate power plants, light rapid transit systems and other projects. We also understand how to finance these projects to deliver excellent service in the areas we operate. Our objective is to bring our global expertise working with local people to create jobs and help develop the Nigerian economy,” he added.