John Shiklam in Kaduna
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Thomas Arkwright, has urged the state and federal governments to reduce bureaucratic bottleneck to improve ways in which business can be done to attract investors.
Arkwright, who spoke as one of the panelists at the Kaduna economic and investment forum yesterday also said, for too long, Nigeria as an oil dependent country has had protectionist policies which does not encourage investors.
He therefore, called for a change in the system so as to encourage the private sector to come in.
He noted that the partnership between the United Kingdom (UK) and Nigeria has come a long way, adding that the British government would continue to support the vision the Nigerian government has set out.
“I like it when I hear governors and ministers and senior Nigerian officials speak about the need for reforms.
“Without reforms the country cannot really move forward. The UK is ready to support the governor in rebuilding the areas he spoke about ; agriculture is one of those areas, we heard a lot about that today.
“Infrastructure was also mentioned by the governor, that is another area where, in my view, the British have been a little bid absence in some of these areas. I will encourage British companies to come back” he said.
Speaking further, he said: “I like very much what I heard from the governor today on health and education…… I want to say a little bit more briefly about investment climate.
“Absolutely, the federal and state governments need to invest. If you look at some of the figures, they are quite shocking in a way.
“Nigeria has never invested more than 15 per cent of its economy back into the economy.
If you look at Indonesia and South Korea, they have invested more than 30 per cent, yet Nigeria has never invested more than 15 per cent”
According to Arkwright, “There is a huge investment gap and that gap cannot be filled by oil revenues, it needs to be filled by private sector engagement.
“State government and federal government should cut down from bureaucracy and improve the ways in which business can be done here to help investors come. I am struggling to convince some British investors to come to Nigeria.
“For too long an oil dependent country has had protectionist policies which does not encourage investors, so change in that area will help to encourage the private sector to come in.”