British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr. Andrew Pocock
By Damilola Oyedele
Britain has expressed its commitment to double its trade volume with Nigeria by the year 2014 from the $9 billion recorded in 2011.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr. Andrew Pocock, said this in Abuja recently where he listed attracting more British investors into Nigeria’s non-oil sector as one of his priorities. He however noted that this would require Nigeria to improve on its business environment for investors through more transparency, accountability and better infrastructure.
Pocock lamented that the threat of terrorism in the North is damaging economic development and reducing the lure posed by Nigeria’s market potentials.
“But we are telling our investors to also consider the potentials that the population of Nigeria holds, alongside the risks, it has to be balanced. We encourage British businesses to come and take a look for themselves. Taxation and other elements are relatively stable here,” he said.
“Lagos continues to power ahead. The size of the economy of Lagos State alone would make it the fourth largest economy in Africa. We are committed to doubling trade between the UK and Nigeria and Lagos is evidence that the oil sector is not the only game in town,” Pocock said.
The envoy noted that if the revolution in the telecommunications sector is replicated in other struggling sectors, such as power, there would be a transformation of Nigeria’s economy through its industries.
He harped on the need to tackle corruption as it not only damages Nigeria’s reputation but adds to the cost of business, deters investors, and undermines the capacity of the state to deliver vital services.