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FG to strengthen investment pact with Brazil to boost infrastructure development

by Business News Report

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, has said that the Federal Government would strengthen investment pact with Brazil in order to attract more Foreign Direct investments that will fast-track the development of infrastructure across all sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Aganga stated this during a meeting with a delegation from a major Brazilian conglomerate, Queiroz Galvao, in Abuja, yesterday. The delegation was led by the Nigerian Ambassador to Brazil, Mr. Vincent Okoedion , and the Managing Director, West Africa, Queiroz Galvao, Mr. Marcos Alexandre Silva. Also, in attendance at the meeting, were representatives from the Ministries of Works; Health; Lands, Housing and Urban Development, and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission.

Queiroz Galvao , is currently eyeing investment in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy including energy, roads ports, airports, among others. With a staff strength of 46,000 and turnover of $4.3bn in 2010, the Group has over 50 companies in sectors such as construction, real estate development, food, investments and concessions, oil and gas, exploration and production, iron and steel Industry, environmental engineering and urban transport, among others.

However, Aganga stated that leading Brazilian companies had already indicated their willingness to invest in the Nigerian economy, adding that the country would leverage areas where it has comparative and competitive advantage to create jobs, generate wealth and transform the economy.

He said, “Brazil is an influential member of the BRIC nations with a big appetite for investing in Africa, especially Nigeria. So, there is the need for us as a country to strengthen our partnership with them in order to attract big investments into our country, especially in those areas where we have competitive and comparative advantage. For instance, when you look at agriculture, Brazil has something similar, or even bigger that what we have. The same applies to mining, and oil and gas sectors. But the difference between Brazil and Nigeria is that they have managed to positively exploit their resources across the value chain by converting their raw materials into finished goods. That is the only strategy that any country, including Nigeria, can employ in order to move from being a poor nation to a rich one.

“Another thing is that in Brazil, the appetite for investment in Africa, especially Nigeria, is very huge. They are currently looking for strategic countries, especially Nigeria, where they can invest. Also, in terms of fund for investment, BNDES, which is their development bank, is said to be currently bigger than the World Bank. Through their BNDES, they have been able to channel resources to their own private companies to invest internationally. So, the Group that has met with us today is interested in investing in infrastructure – rail, road, refineries, and airport, among other things. Another Group from Brazil is coming to Nigeria next week to explore areas of investment.”

Speaking after the meeting, the Nigerian Ambassador to Brazil, Vincent Okoedion, said the renewed interest of Brazilian companies to invest in Nigeria was a fallout of President Jonathan’s visit to the country early this year.
He said, “I want to commend Aganga for his serious approach towards attracting investment into the country. The Group that came today is the second largest infrastructure Group from Brazil. In terms of construction, they are number one. They have about 50 companies .Their visit to Nigeria is a follow up to President Goodluck Jonathan’s visit to Brazil early this year. We are expecting another Group of companies from Brazil in Nigeria next week. We want them to start operations in Nigeria before the visit of the Brazilian President in November this year.”

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