UK to invest $1bn in Nigeria’s transport sector

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Rotimi-Amaechi

Firms from the United Kingdom have revealed plans to invest over $1bn (about N305bn) in the transport sector of the Nigerian economy.

The investments, expected to come on stream within 18 months, are aimed at improving the operations of Nigeria’s maritime, railway and aviation industries, according to a report on a recent meeting between representatives of both governments.

The report of the meeting obtained by our correspondent on Sunday stated that the over $1bn planned projects were the fallout of an investment forum that took place in London on November 29, 2016, which was attended by representatives of both Nigeria and the UK.

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Specifically, the report stated that the meeting stressed “the importance of more involvement of the private sector, increased public-private partnership opportunities ranging from establishment of ship building yards, flat-bottom boats for waterways, ports fencing, modernisation of transportation systems, ship breaking yards, railway infrastructure and logistics, power sourcing as well as the various channels of business to access financing from the UK.”

Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, led a team of chief executive officers of various agencies of the government under his ministry to the forum, while the UK government team was led by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon.

Amaechi said Nigeria was ripe for more foreign direct investments, urging the UK firms to take advantage of the business opportunities, especially “now that the post-Brexit era could open more opportunities through the Commonwealth organisation.”

“The UK needs to re-address its unique relationship with Nigeria after slipping to fifth behind China, US, India and Germany in inbound investments,” he added.

The minister also spoke on a progressive government policy of inter-ministerial harmonisation and dialogue that could help maximise and leverage the national infrastructural enhancement campaign.

Responding, Lord Ahmad assured the minister that the UK was well aware of the importance of Nigeria not only in Africa, but to the UK government and businesses, and that concerted efforts were already being made by both the government and private firms to utilise the opportunities.

He also spoke on the close historical ties between both countries and their peoples.

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