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Forum advises new PM on Brexit, bilateral ties with Nigeria

By Tope Templer Olaiya
15 July 2016   |   3:34 am
The country director of the Nigerian London Business Forum (NILOBF), Prof. Chris Onalo, has charged the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK), Mrs. Theresa May ...
 / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL

/ AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL

The country director of the Nigerian London Business Forum (NILOBF), Prof. Chris Onalo, has charged the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK), Mrs. Theresa May, to return the head of the Commonwealth nation to its post-Margaret Thatcher era when Britain was solely an industrialized and producing nation.

May on Wednesday succeeded David Cameron at No. 10 Downing Street and became the second woman to emerge Prime Minister of Britain after Thatcher in the nation’s history.

According to Onalo, the exit of Britain from the European Union (EU) after a famous referendum, which held on June 23, 2016, resulting in the resignation of Cameron, has opened new vista of opportunities for Nigeria-UK bilateral relationship.

“It is a huge work for the new Prime Minister, as she sees through this exit process from EU, which could take months. She, however, has the onerous task of returning UK to the post-Thatcher era, which was before the emergence of the EU when Britain was famous as an industrialized producing centered economy rather than the service centered economy it is today.

“The impact of Brexit on Nigeria is that it presents our economic policy makers and business community the opportunity to renegotiate directly with UK on matters of investment. The EU trade treaty and import regulations were not favourable to third world countries but with our special relationship with UK as our parent country, we need to quickly go back to the statutes book and look at areas that had been weakened, which need to be strengthened with this new arrangement.

“For instance, the Nigerian beans, which is one of our premium export products, was considered less qualitative to the defined standard within the scope of the EU market and was consequently rejected entry into UK.

“Secondly, UK originally didn’t subscribe to the Schengen visa policy, a situation which allows anyone with a Schengen visa access to all European countries except the UK. Again, the UK didn’t surrender its currency Pound to the Euro, so there cant be any negative effect of Brexit on Nigeria, except a new window of fresh opportunities,” he said.

NILOBF is the business chamber and trade association of Nigerian business community in the UK, which also oversees the interests of British investments in the country.