• Monday, May 20, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

UK-Nigeria trade relations remain strong despite global Pandemic

Uk- Nigeria

Nigeria’s Minister of Trade and Investment and the UK Minister of International Trade have affirmed their support through the COVID pandemic and the future of bilateral trade relations.

With Covid-19 continuing to affect supply chains and disrupt trade and global investment flows, the 3rd ministerial meeting of the UK-Nigeria Economic Development Forum (EDF) held on Tuesday, May 19th 2020 to underscore the priority of both governments to keep the flow of the bilateral trade going and maintain existing investments throughout the crisis as much as possible.

Attended via video conference by Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo and the UK’s Minister for International Trade, Rt. Ranil Jayawardena, the meeting highlighted critical barriers requiring prioritised action that could boost trade between the two countries.

Part of the trade-related priorities singled out for further discussion was the importance of maintaining the freedom of movement of goods and simplifying and automating import/export procedures in line with World Trade Organisation’s commitments to ease cross border trade and increase trade revenues- also boosting Nigeria’s ability to take full advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade.

READ ALSO: New wave of planned economic development in Onitsha rides on social enterprises

“Making our trade processes more efficient is a priority for us. Reducing the administrative bottlenecks, speeding up steps through technology and innovation is necessary if Nigeria is to meet the standards set by the WTO. Therefore, I am pleased, and look forward to, working with the UK to not only enhance our cross border trade methods but assist with identifying and bridging gaps to develop our Single window in accordance to global standards,” Minister Adebayo said.

MP Ranil Jayawardena stated the UK Government’s commitment to help reduce poverty through trade and technical assistance, commending the move made by Minister Adebayo to dialogue with UK business leaders, and take stock of the challenges limiting their ability to effectively play their role in reaction to the pandemic.

Minister for International Trade Ranil Jayawardena said: ‘The coronavirus pandemic highlights just how important it is to keep trade flowing and supply chains open so we can all have the essential supplies we need in this difficult time. As part of keeping trade flowing, this week we announced our UK Global Tariff policy and through the UK Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Nigeria will continue to benefit from preferential access to the UK market to support trade.”

He also emphasized the role of the private sector, whilst speaking on the mutual value of a public-private partnership in shaping the economic landscape in the days ahead, noting the critical service export finance presented as a means of maintaining the flow of goods and services.

The UK’s Export Finance agency (UKEF) currently has a £1 billion market risk appetite for Nigeria that has remained largely untapped, and both Ministers used the forum to discuss the possibilities of leveraging the fund for Nigeria.

A spokesperson for the UK’s Department for International Trade also commented on the other areas that the UK has been supporting Nigeria towards better trade efficacy, like meeting the trade facilitation requirements set by the WTO through several projects offering technical assistance and capacity building to develop expertise in local talents. The UK also assisted with drafting the National Quality Policy and stood ready to support its implementation.

Both countries have agreed to sustain this valuable dialogue twice a year and committed to host quarterly business meetings with selected leaders of top British and Nigerian companies to identify and respond to challenges and opportunities in doing business with each other.