Saturday, April 16, 2016 8:42 pm
The trade volume between Nigeria and the United Kingdom stood about 6 billion pounds (about N 2.4 trillion) in 2015, UK Minister for International Development, Nick Hurd, has said.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the trade potential between the two countries is very huge.
“The trade volume is about six billion pounds, we measure in pounds. It’s an important trading relationship but we think that the potential remains huge and for us in terms of the relationship between UK and Nigeria, it’s such an important one.
“It’s important because of security, our development agenda and that’s in the interest of both Nigeria and Great Britain going forward, so we are very keen to encourage greater trading links between Britain and Nigeria,’’ he said.
Hurd also said that the trade relationship was balanced and not against Nigeria, noting that: “I think the relationship is well balanced. There is a sort of genuine partnership.
“I think the foundation is very strong in terms of relationship but I think looking to the future, there is so much where our interests align.
“We worry about terrorism, Nigeria worries about terrorism. We have a mission to reduce poverty around the world; we’ve made a big commitment to that.
“We also have a president here who wants to reduce poverty in Nigeria. We want to increase the ties of prosperity and trade.
“The incentives are aligned where our interests are entangled and because of the strength of the historical relationship, to me, I think we have a genuine spirit of partnership.’’
He said the UK Department for International Development invested 222 million pounds a year in Nigeria.
According to him, when added to the contributions to the World Bank, Britain is investing about 400 million pounds a year in the development of Nigeria.
“So these are very strong ties, very strong commitments but the whole balance of the relationship is a genuine balance rooted in partnership,’’ he said.
Hurd said the UK was passionate about wanting to support the development of Nigeria and to help accelerate security, peace and prosperity.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for having “done some very good job.
“We think the president has got the right priorities. We are impressed by much of what has been done since he took office.
“We recognised that the process of change and reform is a very difficult one that is not going to happen overnight.
“So we understand that and we are here to be supportive.’’
The envoy, who said that he had interactions with some Nigeria’s businesses and the private sector in Lagos, said their challenges were power and foreign exchange.
“There was a very big concern about power; that came up as the number one challenge they want the government to fix.
“But there was also considerable concern about foreign exchange and so we hold very strong opinions that the government needs to consider some flexibility in its approach,’’ he said.
The envoy said that he also had discussions with some ministers and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and offered UK expertise in the form of advice on the economy