UK offers Nigeria access to 90 billion pounds fund to boost infrastructure
BRITAIN has urged the Federal Government to initiate plans to access part of the United Kingdom’s 90 billion pounds investment funds to boost the country’s infrastructure and economy.
The offer came barely over a month after the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, visited Nigeria.
Stating this was the Lord Mayor of the City of London; Alderman Michael Bear, when he led a trade delegation to the country this week.
Bear said for Nigeria to play important global economic role, the country need to have pursue the three Cs approaches: Commodity-which the oil represent, Capital leverage and Creativity that will enable the country diversify the economy.
The London Mayor, who was hosted by the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) in Lagos, said Nigeria has the potential to attract part of the 90 billion pounds earmarked by the British government for investment in any part of the world that it sees as good opportunity.
According to him, since capital has a choice, Nigeria was among the countries chosen to attract part of the funds, adding that it is now left for government to access the investment fund.
Speaking at the September breakfast forum of the chamber, Michael Bear, said one of the major criteria for a major capital city to attract foreign direct investment is openness to other people and countries.
“We have something we will like to share with Nigeria and so do others,” he said.
The mayor also added that a country must possess a business-friendly environment based on transparency.
“What you need”, according to him, “is predictability, stability and transparency within the business and financial environment.”
He explained that transparency was very important in global business, stressing that Nigeria should entrench a level of predictability in policy, dispute resolution and common law.
Another criterion for making Nigeria a global finance and business centre, the Mayor added, was business infrastructure.
“Every business needs power and communication. People need to get to work without wasting time. Infrastructure pays for itself and creates good jobs. In the city of London, we have realised that one British pound spent on infrastructure generates about two and a half British pounds,” Bear said.
He maintained that the fourth prerequisite for a mega city was good communication, which opens the way for global attention. There should be electronic and physical information communication because businesses can only thrive where business risks, financing risks and sovereign risks are reduced to barest minimum.
“The fifth, according to the Mayor, is a business cluster, stressing that “those are the five reasons that make the city of London a world business hub, and we love to share with you a roadmap on how you can achieve your aspirations towards being a world business centre. If you follow our example, your GDP will increase to about $60 billion.”
Bear however, stressed that the five major criteria were what make the city of London a number one choice as a global centre for finance and business, adding that these could be replicated not only in Lagos State, but Nigeria as a whole to make the country a choice destination for more British investmentYou need to create jobs. You need to create exports and diversify away from a single commodity economy,” he said.
Earlier in his presentation, the NBCC President, Thomas Awagu, while welcoming the Mayor and his trade team, said Nigeria was willing and ready to have more British investments spread into various areas of the country’s economy that are yet to be fully tapped into.
“We are seeking to establish new business partnerships in London,” Awagu said.
The NBCC President however, called for greater support from the British High Commission, various government agencies in Nigeria and Britain as well as viable private sector leaders willing to have business ties with the British business community.
Source: Guardian News