Worried by the continued negative perception of Nigeria abroad, in spite of some unfolding positive strides by the new administration, the Nigerian British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) has promised to engage Nigerians in Diaspora towards correcting the wrong perception, especially in the British society and its media.
At the inauguration dinner of the 14th Executive Council of the chamber in Lagos, last weekend, newly-installed NBCC President/Chairman Prince Adedapo Adelegan decried the way global attention on Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, is promoting pessimistic beliefs of wars, strife, low return on investment, unfriendly business environment and scams.
He said NBCC would soon unfold a programme aimed at deploying various platforms of engagement that would include commissioned documentaries, cultural road shows and establishment of legacy economic activities to re-create Nigeria’s image.
Adelegan noted that the Chamber was established in 1977 to promote trade and investment between Nigeria and Britain, with particular emphasis on enhancing relationships towards building critical infrastructure that would support Nigeria’s economic growth, especially in agriculture.
Calling on the country’s political leadership to chart a progressive path for the future, Prince Adelegan observed that India remained a good example for Nigeria to emulate. He said India has continued to make strategic investment in critical areas of its economy, thereby securing superior design and engineering know-how that has supported the local manufacturing industry and transformed the country into a major industrial nation.
He added that for Nigeria to achieve her dream of economic transformation, all critical stakeholders must pool efforts to install technology that is important as a foundation for the future of the economy. “We will need Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from UK, but will also encourage Nigerian investment in that country because the vibrancy of our entrepreneurial spirit will ultimately define the place of Nigeria as the next frontier of global economy”, he said.
Adelegan also revealed that the Chamber has concluded arrangements for the establishment of an academy and SME support centre in partnership with a leading vocational training centre in the UK.
Congratulating the new president and his team, Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Oluranti Adebule, said the trade relationship between Britain and Nigeria has been greatly beneficial over the years.
His words, “With increase in trade volume from £1.42 billion in 2010 to over £7 billion in 2012, Nigeria ranks high as UK’s second trade partner on the continent after South Africa. The role of NBCC in the growth of this bilateral trade cannot be over emphasised”.
He said Lagos has always been the greatest beneficiary of the trade relations between Nigeria and UK, which has contributed to the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $136 billion as well as her rising profile as a globally acknowledged mega city.
Ambode expressed the hope that the new NBCC executive council would help attract more business to Lagos. He assured the business community of doing business with ease, adding that his efforts in the last few months have been focused on improving infrastructural development and strengthening the capacity of security agencies to guarantee safety.
Source: The Nation Nigeria