The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Chris Cooter, has stated that Canada is currently working on strategies aimed at increasing its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Nigeria within the next few years due to enhanced confidence in the Nigerian economy.
Cooter disclosed this during a meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, in Abuja.
The Canadian envoy 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.
“Two weeks ago, the Nigeria –Canada Bi-National Commission met in Abuja and the centerpiece of that Bi-National Commission was how to build and strengthen economic relationships between Nigeria and Canada. This is one of the reasons we have brought the Senior Executives of SNC Lavalin, one of the leading engineering and Construction Company in Canada, and as top five in the world” he said.
“They have been in Nigeria before, in fact, they were here about 25 years ago. That time, they thought that this was not the best place to invest but 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” he added.
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.
Speaking during the meeting, Mr Aganga said that the Federal Government would partner genuine investors who are willing to invest in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy such an infrastructure, mining, petrochemical and agri-business in order to create jobs for the Nigerian people.
“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” he said.
The Minister also added that the government is 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.”
Also speaking during the meeting, the Executive Vice President, SNC Lavalin, Mr. Michael Novak, said the company would explore the Public Private Partnership option to invest in key infrastructural projects in Nigeria.