A top Nigerian official is in the United States to reassure the international community that next month’s election will be free, fair and credible. The minister of the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, Bala Abdulkadir Muhammad, also says his government will continue an investor-friendly economy to provide more jobs to young Nigerians.
The minister signed a memorandum of understanding with an American firm, the Balkan Energy Company, to develop key parts of Abuja. The project is expected to cost $2 billion.
The Nigerian government has demonstrated good faith and willingness to go ahead with the project, says Jude Menes, the vice president of legal and related affairs at the Nigerian subsidiary of the firm, the Balkan Center Development, Ltd.
Visiting minister Muhammed spoke to the government’s view of the agreement: “Within the framework of this MOU,” he said, “the Balkan group is supposed to provide mixed use development with a hotel condominium, development for residential homes, for restaurants and other metropolitan facilities within the center of the city.”
“It has long been the dream of the government,” to make Abuja one of the world’s best cities, says Muhammed.
He expressed satisfaction with the commitment of the American firm.
“I feel highly fulfilled, but I must say that credit must be given to those people who started it and those who brought it to this level," he said."I may be in the privileged position to be the minister, but this has been made possible by President Goodluck Jonathan, who has a passion for bringing a new lease of life to the country.”
The minister called on foreign investors to take advantage of what he termed the country’s abundant human and material resources.
“We are giving assurances of protection of investment within the [scope] of our national laws for bringing direct foreign investment, and the president has put in place strict guidelines that would encourage foreign investments and profit,” he said.
Muhammed says except for investments in oil and related services, this deal is the largest any American firm has ever made in Nigeria.