The Commonwealth of Nations has promised to support the Nigerian government to attract the right trade and investment opportunities needed to achieve economic growth and development. The Director General, Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, Oliver Everett who paid an official visit to Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State recently explained that Nigeria must improve the ease of doing business in the country, noting that it is critical to the nation’s trade and investment activities.
Everett said that investments must find it easy to come into the country and also ensure that they get return on their investments in and out with simplicity. He pointed out that Nigeria should address its energy challenges, because if the energy is not secured, if the costs are not secured, then investors may not likely to come. “We will very happy to help as a Commonwealth in anything that involves trade and investments. In all areas, I want to wish Nigerians the best in all endeavours”. He added that Nigeria needs to keep the country open for business in order to solve its infrastructural issues, maintaining that the country must also ensure that there is healthy competition and good trade to solve some of its economic challenges.
Governor Ambode of Lagos State promised that his administration is committed to building on the current goodwill and confidence by putting in place policies which will ease the process of doing business in Lagos, stressing that the state government will do its best to make the business environment safe and profitable for investors According to him, government identified areas for intervention include, infrastructural development, security, an efficient public service as well as the rule of law.
He said his administration has taken a major step by establishing the Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment called Lagos Global, to serve as a one-stop shop through which investors and business owners can relate with the State government. “With this office, we hope to strengthen existing relationships and provide a platform for the exchange of ideas,” he added.
He pointed out that the goal of providing job opportunities for the State’s teeming unemployed youths is hinged on a strong and vibrant economy driven by the private sector. The President, LCCI, Remi Bello said there is a strong nexus between the policy of a country and its trade and investment relations, saying that this is against the backdrop of the increasing globalisation of economies around the world which has resulted in the increasing interdependence among countries. He added that the economic interest of a country should be a principal factor in shaping its foreign policy.
“It is imperative that we get this alignment right. We also believe that there is a great deal to the benefit from the promotion of global trade,” he said. He, however, called for domestic policies to be strengthened to ensure that domestic private sector take advantage of the foreign policy benefits. “We are in a new political dispensation in Nigeria. We have a fresh opportunity to get our foreign policy right in order to advance the frontiers of our economic development. We need a strong economy to support a respectable foreign policy and vice versa,” he added.
By Dike Onwuamaeze