- NEPC to Reduce Brexit Impact on Nigeria’s Exports
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council is currently evaluating strategies that will enable the Federal Government to mitigate any negative impact of the planned exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
Following a 2016 referendum to leave the EU, the UK government triggered the withdrawal process on March 29, 2017, setting the date for its exit from the union at April 2019.
Speaking in Abuja on Thursday at a stakeholders’ forum on Brexit organised by the council in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat, the NEPC Executive Director, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, said that Nigeria needed to maintain a strong economic relationship with Britain in alignment with its membership of the Commonwealth.
He said there was a need for the country to take advantage of the exit of the UK from the EU to boost its exports from the current $3.7bn to $4.5bn.
He stated, “We are looking at the impact that Brexit will have on our economy; we are still trying to negotiate the European Partnership Agreement, which Nigeria and Gambia are the only countries in the Economic Community of West African States that haven’t signed; and taking that now, you have the Brexit.
“So, we are looking at the impact for us to prepare. We are the second country that the Commonwealth is doing this for. India is the first and this is very significant for us to be able to mitigate the impact of challenges that will come from Brexit.”
Awolowo added that Nigeria’s exports to the UK might be further strengthened with the new trade and investment arrangements, given that a number of the country’s professional service sectors were patterned after the UK as enough similarities existed between both countries.
The NEPC boss said there was a need to deepen the trade and investment engagements between Nigeria and the UK post-Brexit, adding that there was a range of new products and services that Nigeria could market to the UK.