Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has met with the United States’ Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, to request for additional capital from the US development finance institutions to upgrade critical infrastructure in Nigeria.
A statement yesterday by a presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said both men, who met on Wednesday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia had positive discussions on investments in Nigeria under the new United States International Development Finance Corporation (USIDFC), which provides $60 billion for investments in developing nations.
At the meeting held on the margins of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) forum, Shehu said Buhari told Mnuchin that Nigeria would leverage on this US facility to address current challenges confronting its power sector, as well as the general upgrade of infrastructure.
According to him, the president thanked the US government for supporting Nigeria’s anti-terrorism efforts.
He also said the president and the treasury secretary discussed areas of strengthening Nigeria’s ongoing collaboration with the United States on how to stop terrorism financing.
The statement added that Mnuchin was accompanied by the Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, Brent Macintosh, and Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing in the United States Treasury Department, Marshall Billingslea.
“The Treasury Secretary used the occasion to introduce Macintosh, who was recently promoted Under Secretary for International Affairs by President Donald Trump after the previous Under Secretary, David Malpass, was elected President of the World Bank,” it stated, adding: “The Nigerian leader congratulated Macintosh on his elevation and requested for his continued support to Nigeria especially in accessing the $60 billion infrastructure fund under the USIDFC.”
Buhari had held earlier talks with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, during which both leaders committed to deeper partnership especially in the areas of oil and gas for the development of both countries.
The Nigerian leader and the Saudi monarch reviewed aspects of cooperation between both countries and agreed to advance cooperation in the areas of oil and gas, given the similarities of both countries as big producers of the commodity.
King Salman assured Buhari of the willingness of Saudi Arabia to invest in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, thereby strengthening the strategic partnership between the Saudi energy company, Aramco, and the NNPC.
Shehu had said in a separate statement that both leaders also discussed the current regional and global security situation and that Buhari expressed his desire for a quick and peaceful resolution on contentious issues in the region.