The United States Tuesday declared its readiness to invest as much as $1.5billion in the Nigerian Power Sector through its various private sector companies that may be interested in entering the sector of the Nigerian economy.
Vice-Chairperson and First Vice-President of the United States Export Import (USEXIM) Bank, Wanda Felton, who is a member of an on-going United States Energy Trade Mission to Nigeria dropped the hint yesterday in Lagos while fielding questions from journalists.
Felton who said the $1.5 billion would only be a first tranche of a broader spectrum of investment in Nigeria’s power generation, transmission and distribution added that the funds would certainly build up into higher investment as it progresses.
“We are committed to staking as much as $1.5billion in financing to support investment in the Nigerian power sector and that amount can catalyze into other investments. “So we can look at it as an investment that will multiply beyond this initial $1.5 billion” she said.
Also commenting on the investment drive, Vice President, Corporate Council on Africa Mr. Robert C. Perry, who was one of the leaders of the delegation, pointed out that the reform process, which the Federal Government has committed itself to, could be a very complicated process and therefore required time to progress.
“The deregulation, privatisation and reforms being carried out in the power sector in Nigeria is a very complicated process. This will determine when we receive enquiries from US firms interested in the sector and until then, we cannot set time lines,” he said.
Another leader of the deregulation and Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Williams Fitzgerald, said there were eight companies from the US on the Trade mission, which has taken them to Mozambique, Kenya, Nigeria and finally Ghana.
He said some of the companies were already operating in Nigeria while others were making their first in-road into the country. Noting that the ongoing trade mission was the result of an earlier visit to the US by Nigerian government officials and private sector operators, Fitzgerald said they are already receiving impressive comments from members of their delegation who according to him are happy about the opportunities.
“We want to attract US companies into the Nigerian Power Sector. We do not want them to miss out. The US missed out of the opportunities in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector some years ago and we do not want to miss out of the Power Sector opportunities” he said.
Stressing that the United States was not only interested in the Energy business in Nigeria, Fitzgerald said in mid April this year, the USEXIM Bank will be organising an agribusiness forum, which will pull stakeholders in food production and Processing together.
“So, we see opportunities in the Agro Sector and we think the government has done some reforms in this sector to generate interest from American investors” he said.
Speaking on the capacity of investment flowing from the United States to compete with investments from other global investors such as China, India and the European Union, Felton stressed that the US offered high value products, stating that this was one of its competitive edge.
“We are known all around the world to offer high value products and services. We do not walk away from our products and 99 percent of people who buy from us are satisfied with the value of our products and services.
“We compete on quality and service and we expect people to understand the value of American brand” she said.
She added that they will also be providing finance and investment for companies that will invest in the power sector, which she said required a lot of capital.
“We want to be there to provide capital to help Nigeria complete the reform process. We provide the lowest cost of financing and this is another area where we compete well” she said.
The US consulate said the mission will underscore economic development as a path towards sustained prosperity and peace and highlight the U.S initiatives in the region, such as the partnership for Growth, Initiative and the Millennium Challenge Corporation programs. Additionally, the mission provides an opportunity for U.S power developers and fuel suppliers to promote new energy infrastructure projects. The U.S government is committed to assist and facilitate trade and investment through its existing programs and advocacy both in the United Stated and through its embassies abroad.