The Federal Government yesterday refuted media reports that Ministers who were invited to the US-Nigeria Investment Summit in Washington, DC, on April 19 shunned the forum.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in a statement issued in London on Monday, said most of the Ministers who were slated to attend the event were not invited and were not in Washington at the time of the summit.
The statement was made available to newsmen in Abuja by Mr Segun Adeyemi, a Special Adviser to the Minister.
Mohammed said no Minister shunned the Summit held at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington and the reports being circulated in that regard are bereft of facts.
He also said the insinuation that some ministers collected estacodes without attending the forum was baseless.
He explained that the Ministers of Agriculture; Power Works and Housing and that of Budget and National Planning did not get any invitation from the organisers, even though they were listed among those expected to attend.
Mohammed further said the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, who was invited, was with the President at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London at the time of the summit.
He added that the Minister of Finance, who was in Washington DC at the time, was there purposely to attend the 2018 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The Minister explained that though he was invited to the forum, he wrote back to inform the organisers that he would not be able to make the trip due to conflicting schedules.
The Emir of Kano, Mohammed Sanusi II, who attended the forum, had in an interview with newsmen, criticised the non-participation of Nigerian ministers at the event. He decried the poor attendance of Nigerian governors and ministers at the US-Nigeria Investment Summit 2018, saying it was discouraging to investors.
The summit was organised on the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC, with the theme, “Meet and Partner with Government Policymakers, Institutional Investors, Corporate Leaders”.
Of all the Ministers said to be in Washington DC for the event, only the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, attended the summit.
Speaking to journalists, the Kano monarch and a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), expressed displeasure that despite the fact that a number of ministers and governors were in town, they failed to turn up at the summit.
“I have said it is not easy. Africa has been on the move for a long time. We have countries like Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia that have worked on how they make their environment attractive to investors and that is the kind of conversation we need to have. What do we need to do as a country because you can have everything and at the end of the day, for the person sitting in London who has a billion dollars to invest, he’s got Nigeria, he’s got Ghana, he’s got Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa.