Former speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, has called on Nigeria and Britain to discuss modalities that would help strengthen trade relations between the two countries.
Bankole, who was earlier announced as the new voluntary Honorary Vice President of Africa House and the Africa for Growth Initiative, made the call at the United Kingdom Houses of Parliament, where he addressed VIPs from the world of politics and commerce, including Lord Oates, Chief of Staff to former UK Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg and Andrew Boff, Chairman of Africa House, said the time to renew the trade relations between the two countries was now.
Africa House is a social enterprise initiative that brings high end UK investors to Nigeria,
He challenged Britain to use its recent Brexit decision to build stronger trading relations with Africa, especially Nigeria.
The former speaker noted that Nigeria’s trading relationship with the EU, including the UK, was not always straightforward and not always in Nigeria’s favour.
He said: “Our trade relations with the EU are far from easy at the moment. We currently benefit from duty free access to the EU Single Market for goods, guaranteed under the regional Lomé convention. ‘’But the EU, and I should stress this, has sought to replace this trade deal with a somewhat less favourable successor agreement, the Economic Partnership Agreement, EPA.”
He argued that with the Nigerian government delaying to agree on the terms of the EPA, Nigeria could well find itself in the same boat as post-Brexit UK; losing trade preferences to the EU market altogether.
“There are strong, pragmatic reasons, indeed, for both Nigeria and the UK to start discussing a new, post-Brexit trade deal between our countries.
“The UK is a leading investor and trade partner of Nigeria. Many British companies are already operating in Nigeria, in banking, telecoms and technology, consumer goods, and, of course, in the energy sector.
‘’We have a language in common as well as other cultural features. There is a large community of Nigerians in the UK,’’ Bankole noted.
Bankole was earlier announced as the new voluntary Honorary Vice President of Africa House and the Africa for Growth Initiative.