Nigerian Export Promotion Council boss says FDI from UK should rise to $4.5bn by 2030

NIGERIAN Export Promotion Council (NEPC) executive director Chief Segun Awolowo has predicted that foreign direct investment (FDI) from the UK could rise to as much as $4.5bn in 2030 from the meagre $1bn witnessed today.


A former British colony which gained independence in 1960, Nigeria has traditionally been dependent on British investment and over recent years, attempts have been made to boost FDI. With Nigeria having an infrastructural deficit of about $100bn, there have attempts made to attract FDI into core areas like housing, transport, sewage, power generation and healthcare.


Set up in the 1970s, the NEPC was charged with wooing foreign investors and ending Nigeria's dependence on crude oil, which currently accounts for about 90% of government revenue. Speaking at the Nigeria-United Kingdom Trade Diagnostic Study programme in Abuja over the weekend, Chief Awolowo said this increase in FDO could be achieved through strengthening of bilateral Trade and Investment Cooperation Agreement (TICA).


Chief Awolowo said: “There is no better time to seize this opportunity than now when economic diversification is given the front burner by the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Nigeria should take advantage of the over 2m Nigerian diaspora in the UK to increase food exports."


"If more visa access is granted to qualified Nigerian professionals, the country could enhance its trade in the export of services. The future of Nigeria lies more in the export of services than sectors although some barriers to export in meeting UK standards include origin reputation, traceability, certifications and logistics amongst others."


He revealed that exporters at the forum confirmed that these inhibitions stalled their attempts to tap into the UK market and frustrated their efforts at exporting. Chief Awolowo added that other issues militating against exports include poor financing, especially the inability to secure loans at good interest rates.


Richard Ough, the head of economic development at Britain's Department for International Development (DFID), added that the Economic Development Forum (EDF) between the UK and Nigeria was launched as a commitment to support both economies to grow and prosper. He noted that the UK, through DFID is exploring how Nigerian exporters can maximise the use of the existing trade preferences, including supporting dialogue with trade regulators through a community of practice as well as identifying market access barriers that could be removed to enhance trade between both countries.


Mr Ough added: “Nigeria is a real frontier economy with huge potential for trade and investment opportunities for British firms and it is a key economic partner to the UK in Africa. Bilateral trade in 2017 was £4.2bn and has grown an average of 7% per annum since 2008.”