The Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of the United States has provided $1.5 billion (N234 billion) as loans for American business group interested in investing in Nigeria.
So far, only about $300 million (N46.8 billion) has been utilized since January, the Project Director of the Tricontinental Group (USA) Mr. Funsho Abiri, said in Abuja.
He said this recently while briefing newsmen on the 2012 Nigeria-America Business and Investment Summit in Atlanta, Georgia.
Abiri said there is a deliberate policy by the American government to provide a soft landing for its firms that are interested in Nigeria as the business climates in Europe and North America are already saturated.
He called on state governors to send delegates to the summit to interact with American businessmen who are interested in investing in Nigeria, especially in the transportation sector which the summit would focus on.
On the issue of visas for Nigerians interested in attending the summit, Abiri said the group has already entered into agreements with the US embassy Consulate in Lagos and a day has already been set aside for bloc interviews for those who want to participate.
“The Consulate is assisting because the Americans need Nigerian businesses. So as long as you are a genuine businessman, you would be issued a visa. The problem is that Nigeria is not mobilizing its people to take advantage of these opportunities,” he said.
The Acting Director of the Department of Trade and Investment in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Okechukwu Muoh lamented that many Nigerians did not take advantage of the last June meeting on the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) in Ohio and Cincinnati, USA.
This, he said was because many Nigerian businessmen did not prepare for the trip well ahead of time and so they could not procure visas in time for the trip. Delegates from Nigeria were mostly government officials, he said.
He added that AGOA has been expanded to move away from just being an import and export policy, to include investments in African countries.