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UK investors solicit improved FX availability, as FG pledges business ease going forward

Business investors from the United Kingdom have urged the federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to boost the availability of foreign exchange for improved business operations.

This call was made during an interactive session between UK companies operating in Nigeria, the ministry of industry, trade and investment and the CBN held in Abuja on Thursday.

Some of the companies present at the interactive session included GlaxoSmithkline, Savanna Energy, AzuraPower West Africa, Guiness Plc.

Edu Okeke, Managing Director, Azura Power West Africa, commended the CBN for its support towards the power generation company noting that it has helped reforms from the financial regulator has helped to unlock opportunities in each sector.

He however requested for an increased inflow of FOREX to boost company operations and help the company stay afloat.

“Companies need FX to pay their lenders outside the country and also maintain their plants, it is also needed to maintain plant operations,” he explained.

In response, Godwin Emefiele, CBN, governor explained that the CBN was doing its best to assist manufacturers with FX, pointing out that there are only three main sources of FX inflow to the Nigerian economy. These are through the sale of crude oil, remittances from Nigerians abroad and foreign investors.

“The fall in the prices of crude oil has affected the inflow of FX, this informed the ban on the importation of goods that can be produced locally to ensure judicious use of the available FX,” Emefiele who was represented by the Kingsley Obiora, Deputy Governor, Economic Policy said

He said that the government was making efforts to ensure that investors in the Nigerian economy get the necessary support to grow their companies. He assured that some of the suggestions raised by the companies would be looked into to assist them in their daily operations.

Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, also assured the foreign companies of the government’s support in ensuring improved business operations amid economic downturn and foreign exchange challenges

He pledged that efforts will be made to make the business environment more suitable for businesses to thrive.

Adebayo who facilitated the meeting had noted that the growth of these companies would mean more money for the government to build more infrastructures and also create jobs for the teeming Nigerian youths.

Omon Elyhibro, who spoke on behalf of GlaxoSmithkline, a top tier pharmaceutical company, commended the Minister and the CBN governor for the support received since it began operations 50 years ago, adding that the support was also extended to other local manufacturing companies.

“it is our desire to make the country an export hub for pharmaceutical products, this would be realised through partnership with local manufacturers,” he said.


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