‘How government’s participation in NILOBF summit can aid FDIs’
To address the confidence crisis affecting the nation’s economy, the Country Director of the Nigerian London Business Forum (NILOBF), Professor Chris Onalo, has emphasised the need for the Federal Government to engage international investors and Nigerians in diaspora on the resilience of the economy.
Preparatory to the fourth yearly UK-Nigeria investment summit scheduled for October 18-19 in Londaon, Onalo explained that the forum, identifying the present economic situation in the country, recognises the importance of winning business face-to-face and has provided a platform for the Federal and State Governments to engage investors for required foreign direct investments in the country.
According to him, NILOBF, United Kingdom’s premiere organisation for facilitating and promoting trade and investment between the UK and Nigeria, will through this year’s summit examine how Nigeria can regain its pride of place among the Commonwealth of Nations by deepening its bilateral ties with the British government.
“I do not see a reason why government will not be participating in this summit. This exciting initiative creates the right formula for incentivising investors to look towards new business horizons, while providing stakeholders’ business with an increased profile to a targeted market. When nations are coming together for economic interest, there will be wide-range negotiations which will touch on areas that will considered beneficial to all the member nations.
“It will warrant setting up very strong authority or strong instrument that will also regulate products and services’ standards and also give a quota that would allow member nations to further expand their economic interests. Each country has something unique and each country has something to sell to the other one and apart from collaboration, it will also afford member-nations the opportunity to quickly look at what they can export directly into the market themselves.
“On the part of the UK, there is a mindset or a perception that Nigeria is not yet an attractive market to Britain and that is the reason why much more British people are not inclined to investing, buying or selling from or to Nigeria. South Africa has dominated the market and other European countries.
“All the time, you could experience imbalance of trade in favour of Britain and against Nigeria, but then, with the exit of Britain from the European Union, the next four to five years, if Nigeria is quite smart, this is the time to be at the round table to address some bottlenecks hindering the British coming down here. This is the finest opportunity for Nigeria to assert itself with Britain and see which area of quick export to Britain, the ready products Nigeria believes is of high standards that can sell at the international market.
“This is the time for Nigeria to strike its feet in the minds of the UK and then, the trading balance can be addressed, Nigeria is highly under-developed and with capital projects requiring a lot of money that Nigeria does not have, we need investments down here and it is the opportunity that Nigeria has got right now. This is the time to say Nigeria is the biggest country out of all the countries the British colonised and show them the opportunities that are available in the country”, he added.