Nigeria: UK, Nigeria Trade Volume Hits £5.5bn

The United Kingdom has announced that total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between it and Nigeria currently stands at £5.5billion as both sides confirmed their shared interest in pursuing a potential Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership at the eighth and final UK-Nigeria Economic Development Forum (EDF).

A statement issued on Monday by Press Officer of the UK Deputy High Commission in Lagos, Ndidiamaka Eze, said that of this £5.5 billion total UK exports to Nigeria amounted to £3.3 billion in the four quarters to the end of Q2 2022; while total UK imports from Nigeria amounted to £2.2 billion in the four quarters to the end of Q2 2022.

The agreement in the EDF Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) came to a close on Monday, and the UK and Nigeria agreed that the Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership will offer an alternative high-profile mechanism to progress bilateral economic issues of mutual strategic importance, under which both sides will continue to work together to resolve market access issues and enhance economic cooperation.

The EDF, which held in Abuja on Monday was launched by the former UK Prime Minister, Theresa May and President Muhammadu Buhari in August 2018 and held bi-annually; serving as a platform to address market access barriers, respond to opportunities and challenges of doing business and boost bilateral trade and investment in our two countries.

UK International Trade Secretary, Kemi Badenoch said: “Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and I’m delighted to see our trade and investment links grow, already worth £5.5 billion. The successes of the EDF over the last four years has helped address crucial market access barriers and boosted our exchanges in key sectors such as Legal and Financial Services.

“I welcome the shared interest in exploring an Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership between our nations that will open up new opportunities for UK and Nigerian business, create jobs and future-proof our economies against a changing world.”

UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria, Helen Grant said: “The UK and Nigeria go far when we go together. We are supporting Nigeria on the path to becoming a higher-growth, more inclusive and more sustainable economy as we move towards the 2023 elections.

“This is part of a wider push by the UK to drive a free trade, pro-growth agenda across the globe, using trade to drive prosperity and help eradicate poverty. A potential Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership would include a series of commitments to tackle non-tariff market access barriers to deliver tangible results for businesses in both the UK and Nigeria.”

Nigeria Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo CON said: “The EDF has been a fantastic forum and it is important that what comes out of the working group builds upon its principles and strengthens its outcomes. I know that both Nigeria and the United Kingdom have exchanged policy papers detailing how they wish to proceed, and I look forward to feedback as both papers are reviewed.

“Increased collaboration with Nigeria and other developing markets is needed to mitigate against both current and potential future supply-chain challenges. To this end, the introduction of the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) is warmly welcomed. The reduction in tariffs on hundreds of everyday products should be a win for both Nigerian exporters and UK consumers who are able to access our products at a lower price.

“In 2021, UK exports to Nigeria were said to be $1.64 Billion and Nigerian exports to the UK $1.12 Billion. Not too far apart. As we move into 2023 it will be good to see the DCTS grow these numbers. Increasing bilateral trade is key for both nations and the agreement we are forging must strategically promote its increase. We must continue to work together to resolve market access issues and enhance economic cooperation.”

uisition to improve service delivery in other sectors of the economy, including education, commerce, healthcare, agriculture, finance, transportation, governance, among others.

The event attracted so many stakeholders especially from the academia, as well as technology enthusiasts, including prospective start-up companies, fintech organisations and other interested sectors whose activities are billed to be energized through diligent implementation of the NDEPS and other extant policies guiding the digital economy agenda of the Nigerian government.

22 Institutions, Others To Benefit From N16.7bn Broadband Access Projects

More than 22 institutions in the country, comprising 18 universities, and six polytechnics, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), drawn evenly from the six geopolitical zones in the country, have benefited from a federal government’s broadband infrastructure projects designed to accelerate the Nigeria Digital Economy efforts.

The minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami presided over the unveiling of the projects being driven by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), at the event held at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

The minister said the projects underscores the importance of broadband connectivity and access as central to the accomplishment of the targets of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030 for a digital Nigeria, and that the project is in line with the mandates of President Muhammadu Buhari on job creation and economic diversification.

Pantami, who was joined by the minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Mohammed Bello at the event, disclosed that the key infrastructure being provided for the project, comprise of broadband infrastructure for tertiary institutions of learning; broadband infrastructure for MSME; distribution of 6,000 e-pad tablets, in addition to provision of broadband connectivity to 20 markets as a pilot.

He said the interest in supporting the MSMEs is justified by their current contribution of more than half of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) prior to COVID-19 outbreak, and now constitute 96.7 per cent of entire businesses in the country, and therefore, “any effort to develop our economy without bringing such important sector into the equation will amount to efforts in futility.”

At the event, which had in attendance the chairman of the Board of the NCC, Prof. Adeolu Akande; the executive vice chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta; the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed; and the Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Prof Idris Bugaje, a book authored by Pantami, titled “Skills Rather Than Just Degrees” with foreword written by Brad Smith, President of Microsoft Corporation, was unveiled for the industry.

Pantami said the book is his intellectual contribution to bridging skills gap to enable Nigerians to tap into the opportunities that exist in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and other sectors of the economy.

The book was reviewed by three different Vice Chancellors – Prof. Muhammad Abdulazeez of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi; Prof Owuanari Georgewill of University of Port Harcourt; and Prof. Sagir Adamu Abbas of Bayero University Kano, who commended the efforts of the Minister in putting his thoughts and experience to paper. They recommended the book, which they commended highly.

In their comments, NCC’s Akande and Danbatta, corroborated that the project will fast-track and enhance the ongoing efforts of the NCC’s to deepen connectivity towards achieving the targeted broadband penetration of 70 per cent by 2025.

NCC’s Chairman, Prof. Akande, assured of the commitment of the Commission in completing the projects, which will add the necessary fillip to achieving the major objectives spelt out in the NDEPS, 2020-2030.

The EVC of NCC, Prof. Danbatta, highlighted the Commission’s drive towards deepening broadband penetration in the country and the promotion of digital skills acquisition to improve service delivery in other sectors of the economy, including education, commerce, healthcare, agriculture, finance, transportation, governance, among others.

The event attracted so many stakeholders especially from the academia, as well as technology enthusiasts, including prospective start-up companies, fintech organisations and other interested sectors whose activities are billed to be energised through diligent implementation of the NDEPS and other extant policies guiding the digital economy agenda of the Nigerian government.

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