• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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UK investors ready to finance Nigeria’s N2.37trn infrastructure development

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United Kingdom’s (UK) investors have expressed willingness to help finance Nigeria’s $15 billion (N2.37 trillion) infrastructural development in the next five years.

Chuka Umunna, the United Kingdom shadow secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, said this in Lagos during the trade mission to Nigeria and Ghana by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the UK Trade and Investment Group.

Umunna said, “In terms of raising finance that is something we do very well in the City of London. The finance can be made available through simple syndicated loans, bilateral loans or other more complex financing means.”

He urged the private sector in Nigeria to come to the City of London to raise funds if in need of financing projects, adding, “We have the world’s global financial services sector in London, we need to grow the $14 billion to $15 billion worth of investment needed for Nigeria to develop infrastructure and our financial sector can play a huge role in that. We are very keen to do business and raise finance for investments in Nigeria.”

Mike Purves, the acting deputy British High commissioner, affirmed this at the press briefing by the trade mission delegates in Lagos, stating that UK has not lost interest in doing business in Nigeria.

According to him, “UK companies are looking beyond the perception of Nigeria and looking at the opportunities”.

David Hodges, public affairs manager of the London Chamber of Commerce, also stated during the press briefing the seriousness of the UK investors in exploring opportunities in Nigeria and Ghana.

Femi Fadipe, the regional manager, West Africa of Roughton, a development solution company with headquarters in the UK, said the involvement of UK investors in Nigeria’s growth agenda would also lead to capacity building.

He said his company’s partnership with some local firms in the past years has built the capacity of such companies and raised them to the point they can now handle projects with international expertise on their own.

Umunna, the leader of the trade mission, said the investors were looking at areas such as health infrastructure, biotechnology, agriculture and so on in Nigeria’s economy.

“The UK is speaking with one voice, saying it wants to be part of Nigeria’s growth agenda,” he stated. He expressed delight to be returning to Nigeria, recalling that 22 years ago when he was in the country the economic landscape was very bad. He noted that the growth rate of the Nigerian economy was now far higher than that of the UK and other European economies.

“I think this is a win-win situation. Infrastructure is key to ensuring that Nigeria reaches its full potential, power, roads etc…You need help in doing that, you need people who have the skills and knowledge in infrastructure development”, he said.

He further stated, “You are seeking how to diversify and grow your economy, we are seeking how we can grow our economy in the UK. We must increase and rebound our economy, increase our balance of trade, we want to export more, we have skills and we got businesses that can do want you need.”

Sounding a call to small and medium businesses in the UK, he said, “It is indeed a daunting challenge to do business in Nigeria but the benefits and the huge opportunities far outweigh these challenges.”

Other members of the large trade delegation also expressed interest in doing business with Nigeria.

 

OLUYINKA ALAWODE