By Cecilia Ologunagba
The Federal Government has urged visiting Japan’s trade mission to join in the plan to link all parts of Nigeria with railway to enhance transportation and boost economic activities.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, made the plea when he received Japanese Public and Private Joint Mission for Promoting Trade and Investment, on Thursday in Abuja.
Udoma said that improved transportation infrastructure was one of the priorities of Federal Government as stated in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
He, therefore, urged the Japanese investors to invest in railway infrastructure and other transport facilities in the country as incentives would be provided by the Federal Government for them.
”We want to integrate the whole country through railway and we know that Japan is at the forefront of the railway facilities.
“It is an area we would like you to work with the government under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement to revamp the country’s railway.’’
Udoma listed other priority areas as agriculture, energy and industrialisation.
The minister, however, appreciated the support of the Government of Japan, which had come in form of technical assistance, grant aids and loans.
He said the support had been to the various sectors of the economy such as transportation, security, education, health, water, power sectors as well as in humanitarian services in the North East.
He also told the investors that Nigeria had a huge labour and market to absorb production, adding that the country also had good investment climate environment for investors.
Udoma further said that the government had inaugurated the ERGP to revive the economy, diversified it and make the economy attractive to foreign investors.
Earlier, Shunsuke Takei, Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, commended the efforts of the Federal Government to improve business environment by adopting the ERGP.
Takei said that the economic relations between the countries would improve with the ERGP and their visit to Nigeria.
“I expect full implementation of the ERGP as the key to reviving the economy in line with the Japanese cooperation in the country.
”We have emphasised development of key infrastructure particularly in power and transport sector which are crucial for economic activities and investment promotion,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Japanese head of the delegation of private sector, Masahiro Kuwahara, commended the Federal Government for adopting the EGRP to address the economic challenges in the country.
”Our mission is to discuss on broader business opportunities for both countries.
”We will like to listen to your policies and idea on how you are going to enhance investment environment for foreign investors like us,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the mission was made of 32 private companies and government officials from Japan.