….As British Deputy High Commissioner tasks FG on diversification
A Chief Economist at the PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd. (PwC), Andrew Nevin said Nigeria needs more investment to grow its economy to lift 100 million people out of poverty.
Nevin made this known during the UK-Africa Pre-Summit Media briefing held at the British Deputy High Commissioner’s Residence in Lagos.
He said that Nigeria was only growing at about two per cent and if the country continues that way, there would be more people in poverty.
According to him, “To grow economically, we need investment. We need investment, roughly double what is on ground in the country today.
“We need summits like this to connect with people that want to invest in Nigeria, and the UK and Nigeria have such long standing and close ties.’’
Also speaking, the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Harriet Thompson, said the upcoming UK-Nigeria summit would afford Nigeria the chance to show the scale and breadth of commercial opportunities that it had to around 300 UK businesses.
She said that the summit would highlight sectors including Agriculture, Manufacturing, Infrastructure, among others.
Thompson said, “It is a great opportunity for Nigeria to make its pitch to around 300 UK businesses including some top companies at the very highest level.
“This is Nigeria’s chance to show the scale and breadth of commercial opportunities that are here to show their commitment to diversifying the economy away from oil and gas.
“So, we will be highlighting sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and the infrastructure sector.
“This is about Nigeria telling the world and the British companies that it is open for business,” she said.
The deputy high commissioner said that the UK would follow conversations from the summit that would create jobs and bring Nigeria’s economy forward.
She said that the global market for foreign direct investment was highly competitive and Nigeria was not where it should be.
“We hope that at the summit, Nigeria will begin to change the perceptions to tell people that Nigeria is about more than oil and gas; it is about tech and about agriculture.
“ It’s about services, manufacturing, all of these areas where the UK has got impressive private sector expertise to bring,” she said.
ibneAlso, the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission, Mrs Yewande Sadiku said the summit would give Nigeria the opportunity to showcase its companies and its investment prospects.
“It will also showcase what government is doing about addressing the challenges facing investors in the context of investment landscape. This summit is an important milestone.
“It is not the only event in the relationship, but it’s a big signature event that will help to bring the world’s attention, in particular the UK’s attention, to the investment opportunities in Africa,” she said.
The Head of Office, DFID, Christopher Pycroft, said Nigeria was critically important to the UK Africa investment summit as Africa’s largest economy.
“The UK has got really longstanding relationships with Nigeria and other companies have been here operating and trading in Nigeria for a long time.
“The Nigerian delegation will be led by President Muhammadu Buhari, who is taking some of his senior ministers along.
“ There will be government to government engagement. And there is also going to be really strong representation from Nigerian companies who are already operating here.
“Investors from the UK think that Nigeria is a difficult economy to operate in and that is why we want to demonstrate that there are already UK companies who are investing here, creating jobs and making money.
“We want to use their expertise to be able to draw in other UK investors, private sector operators into this space and to demonstrate that Nigeria is open for business and that the economy is growing,” he said.