By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria is determined to pursue German investments in targeted sectors of the Nigerian economy, President Bola Tinubu told German Federal Chancellor, Mr Olaf Scholz, on the sidelines of the G20 Compact with Africa Economic Conference on Monday.
President Tinubu drew the attention of the German leader to the need for his business community to focus their attention on value-additive processing in Nigerian solid minerals, agricultural goods, automobile production, and other job-creating sub-sectors of the economy.
He recognized the success of Siemens AG in positively transforming the quantity and quality of electric power supply.
The President noted that under his leadership, the staggered and unsteady implementation of the Siemens-supported Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) would take on new urgency with a more deliberate process of project execution.
He also recognized the need to embrace Siemens technology in all aspects of the project for sustainability.
“For me, I am very much committed to pursuing all aspects of the Siemens Power project and the skill development opportunities that will emerge from that project for our talented youths who can participate in sustaining the industry,” the President affirmed, according to a statement by his spokesman, Mr Ajuri Ngelale.
The President further expressed his keen interest in the role Siemens can play in modernizing and expanding Nigeria’s rail network with the provision of ultra-modern trains and railways which can more than double the speed of existing 100km/hour standard-gauge systems presently operating in Nigeria.
To this, the German Chancellor expressed readiness but with an acknowledgement of the need to resolve administrative and financial hurdles brought about by governance problems emanating from prior administrations in the sector.
“I know that there is a lot of work that has been done. There is already a big production of electricity in Nigeria, but it is not getting to the population. Of course, this has to do with the need for a provision of stations and infrastructure on the grid.
“Siemens has developed the plan and is ready to deepen implementation, but it is now up to your new government to take the follow-up action that you are now committed to taking.
“On the railway plans, Siemens will be very happy to do this when more progress is made on the power project which has been started already,” the German Chancellor said.
Mr Tinubu also said, “Everything the world requires in terms of business environment reforms are underway in Nigeria. Perhaps our foreign investors are still a bit paranoid that those old Nigerian issues are intractable. But my track record speaks for itself. I have transformed an entity before now. I am here to do it again, and I will.”
The German Chancellor nodded in agreement and said, “There is nothing too unique about the growth of China. It came down to a lot of investment from overseas that leveraged cheap and skilled labour with adequate internal infrastructure and shipping infrastructure for imports and exports to flow easily. These things are possible in Nigeria. You even have abundant natural resources. Step by step, it is achievable, Mr President.”
The two leaders of the largest economies in Africa and Europe, respectively, agreed to deepen collaboration on the utilization of advanced biometric systems and border control technology to check irregular migration.
The statement also added that the two leaders agreed that investments in labour-intensive industries will go a long way toward resolving the root causes of the problem.