Helen Grant, United Kingdoms’s trade envoy to Nigeria has said that the Nigerian economy is growing faster than other economies in Africa. Grant said this during the Nigerian Diaspora Investment Summit (NDIS) organised by the Nigerian in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM). Her view point on the Nigerian economy is coming after the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said that Nigeria’s economy has slipped into another recession, the second time since 2016. According to NBS report, the economy shrank again in the third quarter, just like it did in the second quarter. The nation’s economy posted a second consecutive negative growth, contracting by 3.62% in the third quarter. The cumulative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the first nine months of 2020, therefore, stood at -2.48 per cent. It recorded a -6.10 per cent negative growth in the second quarter.
But, Grant, who expressed optimism of the nation’s prospects said, the UK government was ready to enhance trade relations with Nigeria, stressing that the country was full of investment opportunities and potentials. “We look forward to coming to Nigeria to identify with viable businesses that the UK government could partner within generating real and long term benefits for both countries”, she said. Grant said that her government was ready to educate, and also learn from Nigeria by enhancing the bilateral trade between both countries. She added that the UK and Nigeria had so much that united them, especially in the areas of culture and language, and stressed the need to build on such existing relations to bring about economic growth.
On his part, Zubairu Dada, Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, applauded NiDCOM, NDSI and other collaborators for organising the activity targeted at bringing about a constructive interface between Diaspora investors and business owners in the country. He emphasised that Nigerians in the Diaspora were potential resources in the areas of skills, experiences and resources which could be tapped into, in bringing about national development. The Minister added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would continue to stress the importance of engaging with the Nigerians in Diaspora in bringing about economic resurgence and national development in the post-COVID-19 era.
Meanwhile, Adeniyi Adebayo, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, who also spoke at the event, said that the Federal Government, through the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC), had launched the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP). He said that the efforts were targeted toward actualising the recovery of the economy from the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that Nigerians in the Diaspora were key drivers of achieving the recovery growth plan. Adeniyi, who reiterated that the NDIS was an avenue of actualising the Economic Recovery Growth Plan through leveraging on the Diaspora resources, listed some of the achievements of the Federal Government in cushioning the effect of the pandemic on the citizens to include the release of 200 billion Naira loans for micro small and medium enterprises in Nigeria. He listed some of the investment opportunities in some parts of the country and told the meeting that the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment had been organising programmes and policies to attract investment to Nigeria.