Houston, Texas, USA has expressed readiness to invest in the Nigeria’s energy, agriculture, technology and oil and gas sectors.
Mr Sylvester Turner, the Mayor of Houston, Texas disclosed this on Tuesday, July 18, 2023, in Abuja at a meeting with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Evelyn Ngige.
Turner is in Nigeria with a 30-man delegation to explore areas of trade and other relations between Houston and the country.
Speaking at the event, Turner emphasised the need to build on the existing trade relations with Nigeria.
According to him, Houston as the energy capital of the world is reaching out beyond its borders for collaborations and relations,
“Where there is a strong relationship, everything else will follow. Energy specifically oil and gas are critical to Nigeria.
“Nigeria is a significant trading partner with the city of Houston to the tune of about 1.6 billion dollars as at 2022 but we know that can be much higher.
“Nigeria is also a leading economic player on the African continent but the business and investment relationships need to be significantly greater,’’ Turner said.
Turner also underscored the need to introduce a direct flight from Houston to Nigeria as part of measures to further improve trade relations with the country.
“It took us about 16 hours to get to Abuja; it was too long, meaning that we need more of a direct flight from Houston to Nigeria.
“Where there is a direct flight, it saves time and will improve on business and trade,’’ he said.
On her part, Ngige expressed Nigeria’s optimism to collaborate with Houston to reposition the nation’s trade and economic sector.
She described Nigeria as one of the United States trade partners over the years and restated the federal government’s determination to sustain the relationship.
She also reiterated the ministry’s determination to initiate and sustain programmes that would foster enabling business environment.
According to her, Nigeria is one of the US largest trading partners in sub-Saharan Africa.
“This relationship culminated into massive inflow of Foreign Direct Investment to Nigeria and there are Nigerian companies and professionals doing business in the USA.
“We hope to continue to strengthen our ties as Africa’s economic giant,’’ Ngige said.
She said the relationship between Nigeria and US stimulated the signing of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in 2000 as instrument for coordination of bilateral economic activities between the two countries.
By Ikenna Uwadileke