By Chinyere Bassey
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, on Friday, said that the decision by the UK to exit the European Union (EU) would boost business ties between it and Nigeria.
Arkwright said this in Lagos at a roundtable organised for workers and business entrepreneurs.
He said that the target of the British Government was to grow its market.
According to him, relations between Nigeria and the UK will become stronger after exiting the EU.
He added that the British Government had decided to leave the EU and it would not renege its decision.
The envoy noted that the British Government would give priority to smooth transition that would minimise disruption and there would be no immediate changes to their relationship with the EU.
He added that “until we exit formally, UK will remain a member of the EU with all the rights and obligations of membership.”
Arkwright said the UK was working toward encouraging more businesses in Nigeria, and would invest and encourage more inward
investment into the UK from Nigeria.
The British Government was interested in Nigerians going to the UK to do business, study, visit families and invest in the economy.
“I don’t know if it will mean more Nigerians travelling to the UK but in 2014, 168,000 people applied for visas to the UK.
“70 per cent of those applications were successful and the visas granted within seven to 15 days from the date of application.
“Most people for some reason doubt this but it is true,’’ he said.
Arkwright then commended Federal Government’s efforts to diversify the economy from dependence on oil and gas to other areas.
He said the price of oil may increase but that the industry alone would not be able to support the need for jobs that Nigerians require.
“And that is why the UK Department for International Development is helping with the immediate needs of those in desperate circumstances in the North-East.
“We are also helping to diversify Nigeria’s industrial base and encourage entrepreneurship through improved education and skills training.”