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Govt’ll encourage private investors – Udoma

From Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja

Budget and National Planning Minister, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has re-emphasised the Federal Government’s determination to create enabling infrastructure for private sector participation in growing the country’s economy.

The Minister who was speaking when a delegation from Cerberus/Dyn Corp of the United States of America visited him in Abuja yesterday, said government’s focus was on stimulating the environment through the creation of enabling infrastructure that will entice private investors to contribute meaningfully to the economy.

The spokesman for the team and former Economy and Finance Minister of Egypt, Youssef Boutros-Ghali, had told the Minister that his group will like to participate in the turn-around of economic infrastructure in the country, including advising and financing moribund and ailing industries.

But Udoma said the group’s interest actually fits into what the Federal Government was trying to do since government was not going to be involved in floating and managing businesses directly.

Government’s focus, according to him, was more on creating an enabling environment and looking at those areas that are capable of encouraging inflow of investments from the private sector.

Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, told the delegation that Nigeria at this time needs investors who can look at ailing and moribund industries and infrastructure and not only put in their resources to revive them but administering them to profitability.

Going through the array of services and industries the delegation said it is interested in, the Minister of State said Nigeria has opportunities in all the sectors indicated, noting that it is indeed heartwarming to meet investors that have a large appetite for risk taking.

Boutros-Ghali told the Minister that Cerebus/Dyn Corp has capacities in funding and turning around distressed companies and rehabilitating moribund infrastructure in several areas including logistics, technology, agriculture, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals.

He stressed that as the leading economy on the African continent, Nigeria needs such investments, pointing out that the current economic reforms going on in the country require private sector support, which the group can facilitate investments to the tune of at least $1 billion by the end of 2016.

The team, which was led by former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Obong Victor Attah, included the former Prime Minister of Guinea and one-time Executive Secretary General of the ECOWAS Commission, Kouyate Lansana and Mr. Tibo Sharon.