The United States government has urged Nigeria to address impediments to trade and investment in the country.
The.US ambassador in Nigeria, Terence McCulley, made the call at an event to mark the 236th independence of the U.S. in Abuja.
Mr. McCulley said Nigeria is America’s biggest trading partner in sub-Sahara Africa, exporting more goods to the United States than any other country.
He said the United States is desirous of increasing its exports to Nigeria.
The envoy also noted that trade between Nigeria and his country rose by 467 per cent between 2001 and 2011 adding that plans are underway to double U.S. overall exports to Nigeria by 2015.
The ambassador said that the Nigerian government needs to improve the country’s trade climate.
“President Obama has said that development depends on good governance and Nigeria will become more attractive to both domestic and foreign investors by improving the rule of law.
“By respecting the sanctity of contracts and ensuring transparency and accountability, Nigerian and international firms can compete on a level playing field, and all of Nigeria will benefit.
“Corruption is another impediment to investment… another important barrier to economic growth today is violence and insecurity. The Nigerian people deserve effective and accountable security forces to counter violent extremism, as well as a coordinated campaign to deliver economic development,” Mr. McCulley said.
The ambassador also called on civil society organisations to serve “as the conscience of the nation in holding elected officials accountable”.
He reiterated the U.S. government’s commitment to partner with the Federal Government to address challenges faced by the latter and to improve investment opportunities for both countries.
In his remarks, Martin Uhomoibhi, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, lauded the role the U.S. had played in Nigeria since the country’s independence.
Mr. Uhomoibhi expressed gratitude for the U.S.-Nigeria Bi-national Commission launched two years ago and added that the focus of the commission would assist in achieving Federal Government’s transformation agenda.
“Today we are proud inheritors of the Nigeria-U.S. Bi-national Commission.
“Under this very unique relationship, we have foreign investment, agriculture and food security, regional security and the Niger Delta problem, good governance, transparency and democracy.
“I am confident that with Nigeria and the United States working together in the way that we have done, not only Nigeria, but the entire world stand a lot to gain from this cooperation,” Mr. Uhomoibhi said.
The celebration tagged: “The U.S. and Nigeria: Building Business Together” reflected the trade partnership both countries share.