UK tasks FG on economic policies, retention of foreign investments

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As British Business Group Nigeria marks 50th anniversary in style

The British government has emphasised the need for the Federal Government to fix fundamental political and economic issues affecting businesses in the country to retain foreign investments and attract more.

British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, disclosed this during the British Business Group (BBG) Nigeria’s 5th Decade Heritage Night Celebration.

The event was held at the British Deputy High Commissioner’s residence, Ikoyi, Lagos, at the weekend.

Laing identified multiple exchange rates and lack of public infrastructure, among others, as major challenges bedeviling businesses in the country.

Noting that complex customs issues at the borders are major problems that need to be fixed, Laing said Nigeria possesses three advantages: large market; amazing set of natural resources; and talented, dynamic and creative people.

These, according to her, are essential for a strong and vibrant economy.

Deputy High Commissioner, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, who mentioned non-tariff barriers as another of Nigeria’s challenges, said the British government would, from 2023, commence a tariff-free scheme for the country. According to him, this will greatly solidify bilateral relationship between the two countries.

Llewellyn-Jones said: “From next year, we’ll introduce the tariff-free scheme, which will reduce significantly the number of tariffs that exists for products that are being exported from Nigeria.

“And so, we’re talking to necessary ministries about the opportunity. What it will mean is that there will be fewer barriers to exporting to the United Kingdom.

“And what it will also hopefully do, I think, is stimulate some changes in terms of the speed with which goods can leave Nigeria.”

The Chair of BBG, Nigeria, Dr. Onyerinma Ama, revealed that the group was formed five decades ago by the then High Commissioner as a way of bringing British business leaders together.

She said the group was set up to promote British businesses to the highest standards.

According to Ama, “it means that all the members have the support of the integral part of the ecosystem. And we work very hard to make sure that we know what’s going on in all the other sectors. We have WhatsApp groups where we have lots of discussions.

“We’re aware of what’s going on. Promoting British businesses and also liaising with our Nigerian counterparts is very integral to our survival. And it’s a reason why, five decades later, we can actually see that we’re an integral part of the business ecosystem in Nigeria.”

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