VENTURES AFRICA – British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Peter Carter revealed on Monday, that trade relations between Nigeria and UK will hit N1.920 trillion ($12.2 billion) by 2014.
Currently, bilateral trade volume between the two countries stands at N960 billion ($6.1 billion) as at the end of 2012.
Carter, who recently assumed the post of Deputy High Commissioner, said this after a meeting with Lagos state Governor, Babatunde Fashola - to familiarize himself with him and share thoughts on how to strengthen UK relations with the state.
He noted that his country is aggressively increasing its investment in Nigeria to achieve that objective.
“We are already on our way to redoubling bilateral trade between the two countries by 2014. We will continue to work with the Nigerian authorities, with the Nigerian people through our different agencies for international development, through the British Councils and through a whole range of other links between official bodies,” he said.
The British Deputy High Commissioner also stated that his country is working to remove some of the barriers to the issuance of UK visas for Nigerian businessmen to ensure seamless flow of trade between the two countries.
According to him, “We recognise the importance of a smooth efficient visa services particularly to Nigerian businessmen, because if they can’t get to Britain, they cannot get the business. So, we are constantly seeking ways to improve our visa services to Nigerians.”
He said the British government would still maintain all necessary security measures “to ensure only people with good reasons get to Britain.”
“We are constantly seeking ways to improve our visa services to Nigerians, while maintaining all the necessary security to ensure only people with good reasons get to Britain. Our aim really is to make the obtaining of our visas as efficient and straightforward as little time- consuming as we can make it,” he said.
Carter said Britain attached so much importance to its relations with Nigeria in view of its vast resources and dynamic people, noting that future of relations between the two countries was very bright.
He described the relations between his country and Lagos as long-standing, adding that Lagos was the commercial nerve centre of the country.
Carter noted that Lagos “is fundamental to the economic well-being and growth of Nigeria. Nigeria has a historical link with Britain spanning many years and including both economic and cultural links. Before I arrived Nigeria, the United Kingdom has a unique relationship with Nigeria. Aside economic link, we also have cultural link. Many Nigerians have made the UK their homes where they reside, work and raise families while Nigeria remains their ancestral home.”
He dismissed the belief in some quarters that the Commonwealth had lost relevance in the promotion of the interests of member countries.
Meanwhile, Governor Fashola in a statement released after the meeting with the British council, said “I Personally think that our alliance with your country has been quite mutually beneficial and it is something that we should do more. There are many areas that we are still engaging and there are many other frontiers to explore.”
“The character of the Lagos Economy itself is still very dynamic. New frontiers are still opening, frontiers that will, most certainly, engage the interest of the British Government and that of British entrepreneurs.”
“We are already on our way to redoubling bilateral trade between the two countries by 2014. We will continue to work with the Nigerian authorities and with people though our different agencies for international development, the British councils and a whole range of other links between official bodies, ” he said.