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Cablegate: Framework for Partnership: Team Nigeria Meets Gon

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P 061108Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2752
INFO RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS PRIORITY 9178
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DEPT PASS USTR FOR AGAMA
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E.O. 12958
TAGS: PREL ECON EAID ETRD EAIR SNAR NI
SUBJECT: FRAMEWORK FOR PARTNERSHIP: TEAM NIGERIA MEETS GON
MINISTERS

REF: ABUJA 395

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Ambassador and an interagency team met, for
the second time this year, with senior-level Nigerian officials as
part of the "U.S.-Nigeria Framework for Partnership" in April 2008.
During the exchange, the Minister of State for Power reported that
the Government of Nigeria (GON) will soon announce a new multi-year
electricity tariff as an incentive for U.S. investors. A Minister
of Transport representative indicated that the Civil Aviation
Authority was in the process of approving World Airways re-entry
rights for passengers and freight, and a decision requesting
approval for Air Marshalls on Delta Flights was forthcoming. The
USG and GON agreed to continue working on common goals and
objectives through creating inter-agency thematic working groups in
the areas of Peace and Security, Economic Growth and Trade,
Investing in People, and Governing Justly. Following setup, the
working groups will report outcomes to the quarterly Framework for
Partnership senior level reviews. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) The Ambassador was accompanied by the Economic Counselor,
Agricultural Attach, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement
(INL) Program Officer, Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) Chief,
and the USAID Mission Director. The GON officials included:
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Baguda Hirse, Minister of
State for Defense Fidelia Auababa Njeze, Minister of Interior Godwin
Abbe, Minister of State for Energy (Power) Fatima Balarabe Ibrahim,
and Special Senior Assistant to the President for Economic Matters
(SSAP) J.O. Ayo. Others present included Permanent Secretary for
Power, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Secretary to the
Government of the Federation (SGF), representative for the Ministry
of Transport and Presidential and Ministry of Foreign Affairs
staffers. The session was chaired by the Minister of State for
Foreign Affairs Hirse.

Business and Trade
------------------

3. (SBU) The Ambassador told the GON that import bans and high
tariffs are blocking U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) and that
there has been little progress on the Trade Investment Framework
Agreement (TIFA). The GON continues to maintain import bans on a
range of agricultural products including maize, beef and pork
products, as well as poultry and poultry products, edible oil and a
number of other products. She urged Nigeria to become a player in
the Economic Community of Western Africa States (ECOWAS) and to
adopt common external tariff (CET). The Ambassador and the Economic
Counselor emphasized that the Mission and the Office of the United
States Trade Representative (USTR) are ready to begin expert-level
discussion but it is up to the GON to set up next round of talks,
particularly if seeking progress on bilateral investment treaty
(BIT). (NOTE: The first TIFA quarterly digital video conference
between the US and Nigeria took place in April. Both sides had
robust teams participate and several bilateral irritants were
discussed during the five hours. END NOTE.)

4. (SBU) The Minister of Transport (MOT) representative indicated
that the Civil Aviation Authority was in the process of approving
World Airways re-entry rights for passenger and freight service and
a decision requesting approval for the Air Marshalls on Delta
flights are forthcoming. In addition, MOT requested technical
assistance from the U.S. Department of Transportation on railways
infrastructure planning and construction and hopes to work closely
with the USG. Fatima Balarabe Ibrahim, Minister of State for Power,
reported that the GON will soon announce new multi-year electricity
tariff as an incentive to U.S. investors.

Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption
-------------------------------

5. (SBU) INL Program Officer reported that the Mission met with the
Head of the Civil Service Federation and discussed establishing
working groups to promote transparency and accountability for
salaries, wages, pensions and employee records by developing
automated systems. Ibrahim stressed the need for personnel and
procurement reforms to resolve problems in the power sector. J.O.
Ayo, Special Assistant to the President on the Economic Matters,

ABUJA 00000815 002 OF 002


told INL Officer, after the meeting, that the government is
interested in capacity building on ethics, fraud and
anti-corruption.

6. (SBU) The Ambassador asked Godwin Abbe, Minister of Interior, if
he is interested in replicating the successful Kaduna State program
on community policing in the rest of the country. Abbe commented
that the Federal level was the best mechanism to coordinate
community policing programs rather than through state governments.
(COMMENT: The Mission does not support Abbe's opinion on working
only with the federal while ignoring state and local governments,
and will continue to engage with all stakeholders. END COMMENT.)

Health
------

7. (SBU) The Ambassador and the USAID Director expressed concern
with the rising number of polio cases compared to the same period
last year and urged the GON to show serious political and financial
commitment to polio eradication. Nigeria is one of only four
countries in the world where polio is endemic and most recent data
shows that polio has spread to more northern states since last year.
The USAID Director emphasized that the USG is committed to
assisting Nigeria, but this effort needs high-level GON involvement
and commitment.

8. (SBU) The USAID Director continued that the United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF) has estimated that there is a $260 million
polio eradication funding gap for 2008, and 2007 GON commitments to
provide $35-40 million did not fully materialize. Approximately
only $13 million was available by the end of 2007 from Millennium
Development Goals (MDG) funds. In 2008 the GON reported an
additional $13 million would be made available, however this amount
falls short of the need highlighted by UNICEF.

9. (SBU) The Ministers all expressed surprise at the rise in polio
cases. The USAID Director explained that for the vaccine to be
successful - 100% of the children have to be vaccinated. The
Ambassador also covered polio issue in a private meeting with
President Yar'Adua later that evening. He took note of the
sensitivity of the issue and said he would have the Acting Health
Minister engage more in order to avoid a larger problem.

10. (SBU) On Peace and Security, Ambassador Sanders addressed with
Defense Minister forward movement on battalion for Somalia,
highlighted a need for a SOFA and engagement with the U.S. on
maritime issues.

Thematic Working Groups
-----------------------

11. (SBU) The Ambassador suggested, and Ministers agreed to continue
further discussions on issues of Peace and Security, Economic Growth
and Trade, Investing in People, Governing Justly in order for things
to more forward in the bilateral relationship in the Framework for
Partnerships.

11. (SBU) COMMENT: The U.S.-Nigeria Framework for Partnership is
moving forward. After two Ministerial meetings in February and
April 2008, the USG and the GON will continue cooperation by
tackling specific issues through the thematic working group
meetings. END COMMENT.

SANDERS


1

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