UK targets bigger real sector investments in Nigeria
by David Ibemere
February 26, 2018 | 12:45 am| | | Start Conversation
Exciting days lie ahead, as the British government says Nigeria remains a top priority on its push to increase more direct investment into Africa, and talks have already begun with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to achieve the target.
The UK is interested in all sectors of the economy, but more importantly in Nigeria’s burgeoning real sector.
Laure Beaufils, deputy British high commissioner said weekend, at an advocacy roundtable organised in Lagos by the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce(NBCC), entitled ‘The Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria’, that the government was starting a new project called ‘Overseas Direct Investment(ODI)’, specifically driven to promote more British-Nigeria trade.
“The United Kingdom, the UK Trade & Investment, in collaboration, is working closely with Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission and other bodies to increase UK investment in Nigeria,” Beaufils said.
BusinessDay checks on UK Office of National Statistics show that as of third quarter (Q3) of 2017, Nigeria exported goods valued at £17 million to the UK, while the import from the UK to Nigeria stood at £134 million. However, Beaufils stated top British companies already had deep footprints in Nigeria, importing and exporting various products.
“In the coming years there will be positive growth figures on trade volume between Nigeria and the UK, as the commission is ready to champion various programs that will lead to a free, fair and inclusive trade with mutual benefit.
“We are very ready to improve on trade relationship with Nigeria, and help attract U.K investors into Nigeria’s capital market, Nigerian Stock Exchange.”
Beaufils recalled that the British Government on Feb. 9, through its export credit agency, UK Export Finance (UKEF), said it would accept naira payments from Nigerian business owners trading with the UK. She said the initiative was a monumental step that would deepen trade, open more opportunities, expand patronage and market scope of products from both countries.
Commenting on Nigeria perception in the UK, she said Nigeria had more role to play in making the narrative change.
“Nigeria must make it easy for investors to predict what to expect when they come into the country with their investment.”
Okechukwu Enelamah, minister for trade and investment, in his presentation on ‘Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria’ reiterated government’s commitment to making Nigeria an attractive business destination.
“The objective we are looking at is how we can make life easier for people, remove the bottlenecks and roadblocks and things that get in the way of people running their businesses efficiently, but this will need a collective responsibility both from the government and the private sector,” he remarked.
He revealed that the government had earmarked airport concessioning, single window ports operation, deployment of scanners, and communication system to promote efficiency in the ports as some of the priority for 2018.
For Akinola Olawore, president of the chamber, there was a need to continually sustain relationship in building sustainable plan to enable a more business-friendly environment.
He noted that the forum was created to design, highlight and also propose direction to ensure sustained economic ties between the UK and Nigeria.
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