Saraki, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, in
Abuja, stated this while welcoming the Board of Directors of the United States
(U.S.) Chamber of Commerce and the Africa Business Centre (ABC) during their
courtesy visit to the leadership of the Senate at the National Assembly.
Other members of the delegation led by the ABC Co-Chair and Chairman of Dangote
Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, included the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr.
Stuart Symington, Chairman of Zenith Bank, Mr. Jim Ovia, President of the ABC,
Mr. Scott Eisner and several other board members.
The President of the Senate was was joined by Majority Leader, Senator Ahmad
Lawan, Deputy Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah and 13 other Senators.
Saraki said that the aim of the 8th National Assembly under his leadership is
to reduce "government intervention in sectors that traditionally are
guided by market forces."
"One of our primary goals is to increase the private sector’s
participation in the economy by reducing government intervention in sectors
that traditionally are guided by market forces," Saraki said. "This
reform will help create more industries needed for job growth and economic
stability. To this end, several of the Senate’s priority economic bills are
making their way to final passage in both Chambers."
The President of the Senate said that “trade and job creation through trade is
a two-way street and that the National Assembly is open to listening to ideas
about how to further the cooperation between Nigeria and the U.S. private
Over the past two years, Nigeria has invested heavily in the agriculture sector
as an integral initiative to diversify the economy.
Saraki said that “obviously we have invested too much to change our national
strategy. The current challenge is how do we attract investment to grow the
industries within the agriculture sector.”
Several members of the delegation thanked the President of the Senate for his
leadership on economic reform issues and in undertaking a review for
recommendations to enhance Nigeria’s ICT sector.
IBM announced at the meeting that the company will soon commence its Digital
Nation training program in Africa where they seek to train some 25 million
people—mostly in Nigeira—for “new collar jobs.”
The Senate President applauded the project and commended the companies for
their efforts to train young Nigerians.
“Nigeria’s ability to grow the economy with jobs is a national priority” Saraki
said. “ICT development is the way to develop employment and skills training
opportunities for many young people in Nigeria and we must continue to work
together to create the enabling environment to realize this potential."
He also welcomed the Co-Chair of the Africa Business Center, Alhaji Aliko
Dangote, to the National Assembly and commended him for his contributions that
helped shape the Senate’s Economic Legislative Agenda through his participation
in a business leader’s roundtable in Lagos in September 2016.
"It should be noted that several of his keen observations and ideas were
incorporated into the National Assembly’s Recommendations to President
Muhammadu Buhari, on growing the economy," Saraki stated.
According to Mr. Eisner, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce represents three million
U.S. companies. “The creation of the ABC represents a new era of economic
engagement. It is intended to help breakdown market barriers for increased
U.S.-Nigeria trade and investment.”
On his part, the leader of the delegation, Dangote, said the visit to the
President of the Senate and the Leadership of the Senate by the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce and the Africa Business Centre was meant to discuss things of interest
"as they affect Nigeria, Africa and the United States."
"There are a lot of things in terms of what other companies are doing in
terms of job creation, training, Africans in ICT and also how to improve the
situation and get most of the U.S. companies to come and be involved in
agriculture where Nigeria can have food security and be major exporters of food
items rather than importing food," Dangote said.