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Nigeria, UK mull regular business forum to boost investments

01 August 2014, 11:01

Abuja - Nigeria and United Kingdom, UK have agreed to step up arrangement for a regular business forum between both countries with a view to further creating enabling environment for business growth and enhanced trade relations.

This was disclosed on Thursday at a meeting between the British Prime Minister Trade envoy to Nigeria, David Heath and the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Samuel Ortom in Abuja.

They said the arrangement was aimed at encouraging private sector players to interact and develop business ideas as well giving room for a closer relationship between both countries beyond oil and gas.

Heath emphasized the need for both countries to explore the potentials of the Nigerian Diaspora in Britain to key into investment initiative in Nigeria.

According to him, the volume of trade between Nigeria and Britain is currently about £7.2 billion (N1.8trillion), and could hit £8 billion this year (2014) with the balance of trade still in favour of Britain.

Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Heath said: “We have a pool of successful Nigerians living in the UK with good business skill and the resources that can be redirected at good business initiative that would benefit both countries just like the Indians have done with their Diasporas”.

“We have specialist skills and technology that can add value to Nigeria. Skills training are one area where we are very strong and if it is appropriate to your needs, we have organizations that will be willing to offer their expertise”, he stressed.

Responding, Ortom reiterated the commitment of the federal government to improve bilateral trade relations between Nigeria and Britain so as to further boost economies of both countries, particularly Nigeria.

“We have the instruction of our president to see what can be done to further this relationship. We already have the Diaspora funds and a couple of meting has been held.

“We will need the UK training assistance in processing and packaging as well as meterology for our small and medium scale enterprises, largely because our products have had difficulties accessing foreign market due to poor packaging and processing”, the minister said.

-          NAN

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