By Miriam Humbe
The UK-Nigeria Economic Development Forum, (EDF) has retested its commitment to the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.
The pledge was made in a communique jointly signed by Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo and the United Kingdom’s Minister of State for International Trade, Conor Burns MP, shortly after a bilateral meeting in London on Thursday.
The communiqué, according to a statement signed by Julius Toba-Jegede, Special Assistant to Adebayo on Media said the two countries promised to work together to promote positive actions in the areas of trade standards, exchange of national goods and services in their respective markets.
It said that a partnership agreement had been created between the British Standards Institute (BSI) and the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) to share good practices, boost standards-compliance and expand Nigeria’s non-oil exports.
“The meeting of today restated the strategic importance that our two governments attribute to our mutual economic cooperation.
“In the evolving domestic context since our last meeting in April 2019, the meeting was an opportunity to take stock of the progress made against the agreed works streams and to look ahead to actions needed in the coming period.
“We acknowledged positive actions in the area of trade standards. A formal partnership has been agreed between the British Standards Institute (BSI) and the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) to share good practices, boost standards-compliance and expand Nigeria’s non-oil export.
“In August, the Government of the United Kingdom and the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) signed a memorandum to launch a pilot initiative for the delivery of standard-related capacity building to Nigerian non-oil exporters between October and December and create a larger pool of exporters in future.
“Officials shall therefore plan events to showcase Made-in-Nigeria goods and business services to UK-based companies, and to position British services and franchise brands in the Nigerian market.’”
It noted that the UK government commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over some of its recent initiatives and policies.
“In the area of financial services, the UK Government applauded the leadership of the Central Bank of Nigeria in taking forward recent formation of a technical working group to develop offshore-issued Naira-denominated bonds (jollof bonds).
“This group has met and is now identifying ways to accelerate and strengthen options for infrastructure financing through bond market deepening, including in partnership with the City of London.
“In addition, the recent Approvals in Principle of three Payment Service Bank licences in Nigeria demonstrates the determination of the Nigerian Government to deepen financial inclusion in the country.
“The Nigeria Government welcomed the technical assistance to the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC). Both governments agreed to support work to profile investment opportunities ahead of the UK Africa Investment Summit, including a pre-Summit showcase of investment opportunities in London before the end of the year.
“Our two governments are committed to accelerate climate finance for mitigation and adaptation in the run-up to 2019 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Finance (COP 25) in December and the subsequent COP 26, which the United Kingdom will host in partnership with Italy in 2020,” the communiqué stated.
Adebayo represented Nigeria at the meeting which was second of its kind since it was launched in August 2018, with the economic goal of removing official market access barriers between the two countries.
The Minister had earlier on Thursday attended the Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting held in London, where 42 other nations including Nigeria participated.