The US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, says Nigeria remains America’s second largest trading partner with trade volume in the region of $9 billion.
Tillerson, speaking on his final leg of his African tour at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, noted that Nigeria was regarded as America’s important trade partner.
Nigeria is expected to play leading role as African countries sign Intercontinental Free trade agreement in Rwanda next week, Tillerson said.
He noted that although the United States was not against taking loans from China, America is more concerned with the aftermath of the Loans as experience has shown that such countries ended up forfeiting their sovereignty.
“You have to be in charge of your local infrastructures. We have seen a situation were some countries lost such control due to the loans,” he said.
He revealed that Donald Trump has set up a committee to look at structuring financial strategy similar to what the Chinese government is offering with less risks.
The US government is also developing mechanism that will also create alternative opportunities financing offer.
There are alternatives, including great potentials for public private collaborations.
He noted that the United States will want to see China obey international rules and norms and financial structure to deal with unforeseen circumstances, adding that countries need to look more carefully.
“There are other alternatives ,financing mechanism that are available and I think in particular, of government plans to create the right conditions around those infrastructures investments, there are also great potentials for public-private sector co-investing in the infrastructures,” Tillerson said.
Speaking on the abducted Dapchi school girls, he expressed hopes that the girls would be released peacefully through safe negotiation.
He assured that the United States government has offered to assist Nigeria in ensuring speedy rescue of the girls by providing materials, intelligence training, among others.
He affirmed that Boko Haram remains a threat not just to Nigeria but the sub region.
Tillerson commended President Buhari for leading the sub-region in the fight against terrorism as well as his fight against corruption, which he noted had earned the president recognition at the African Union.
“I think it is important to clarify that we do not seek to stop Chinese investments from flowing to countries that need those investments. But what we are cautioning countries is to look carefully, that the implications of the level of debts, the terms of the debts, and whether the arrangements around the local financing are intact creating jobs, local capacity or the projects being carried out by foreign labour being brought to your country,” he said.