Experts have predicted that export action of value added products and technology development are will strengthen the ties between Nigeria and the United Kingdom post-COVID-19.
They spoke at a webinar on ‘Nigerian-British Bilateral Relationship Post COVID-19’ hosted by the Nigerian British Chamber of Commerce.
They emphasised the need for the Nigerian government to create a conducive for investment and identified agriculture and mineral resources as other potential industries that would boost Nigeria’s economic growth.
The Vice President, NBCC, Mr Bimbo Olashore, emphasised the need for the government to hamonise exchange rates, focus on infrastructural development, provide a more conducive business environment and intensify diversification of the economy in order to attract investment post-COVID-19.
He said, “COVID-19 is giving us an opportunity for us to do things we have always talked about in the past. We have infrastructure and certain business challenges and a number of those things are now being addressed.
“There are some investments that are going on that will make the business environment more conducive. The cost of governance is an area we need the government to work on. But there is still a lot to do.”
According to him, Nigeria businesses can benefit more from the British government by developing value added products for export.
He said, “The first thing is to look at the value chain of some of the things that we do. It is quite key to improve the quality of export products. We see a lot of opportunities for Nigeria in cocoa, rubber, sesame seeds and ginger exports.
“We also need to develop our solid minerals. If we improve on our infrastructure, the manufacturing base can grow.”
The British Deputy High Commissioner for Nigeria, Harriet Thompson, said the UK government was rendering business support services to the technology sector, especially digital health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Thompson, the use of technology in agriculture will benefit the country and help to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
“Agriculture is an area of interest for the British government to ensure food security and economic development of Nigeria,” she added.
She emphasised the importance of developing the logistics for farm products and avoid disruptions to movement of goods within the country.
The Senior Vice-Chairman, Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, Bola Adesola, who facilitated the discussion noted that COVID-19 had disrupted the global economy and the world trade as there had been a decline in production and consumption.
She said that the implication of the decline in global trade was that the pandemic would undermine countries efforts to foster trade and investment and jeopardise economic growth and development plans.