By OLUSHOLA BELLO, Lagos
The head of the European Union (EU) delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, has pledged the commitment of EU countries and their business concerns in Nigeria to redouble efforts and collaborate with their Nigerian counterparts and the government.
Karlsen gave the assurance during the celebration of European Day by the European Business Chamber (EuroCham) Nigeria. He said: “the European Union is a trusted partner not only in Nigeria but across the African continent and they are committed to engage to end security threats across Nigeria and the regions to consolidate democracy gains”.
He noted further that the EU as the largest trading partner with Nigeria, is committed to promoting environmental and security conditions.
Minister of industry, trade and investment, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo, in his keynote address, commended EuroCham Nigeria for maintaining cordial relationships with Nigerian businesses and reiterated the commitment of the federal government to invest in initiatives that will promote and foster social investment.
He specifically thanked the European Union for supporting the emergence of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the director-general of the World Trade Organisation.
Also, the chairman, Anap Business Jets Limited, Mr. Atedo Peterside, called for a level playing field to avoid the continued prevalence of multiple exchange rates that have deterred foreign direct and portfolio investments as well as genuine Nigerian investors who do not have the ‘clout’ to access cheaper forex.
According to Peterside, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify making a major investment in Nigeria as the investor is forced to compete with a few persons whose cost profile is lower on account of their privileged access to cheaper forex.
Speaking further, Peterside called on the investing public to embrace and apply environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors as part of their investment analysis to identify material risks and genuine growth opportunities as some of the socio-economic problems are man-made and can disappear as quickly as they appeared.
While also calling for concerted efforts to expand business opportunities between the EU and Nigeria, the president of EuroCham Nigeria, Mr. Adefolu Majekodunmi, unveiled the new brand identity from European Business Oganisation (EBO) to European Business Chamber (EuroCham) Nigeria, to reflect the heritage of the European Union as well as to further establish the profile of the organisation as a credible resource platform for healthy collaboration between European and Nigerian key business stakeholders.