The Federal Government has assured United Kingdom companies operating in Nigeria of its support in ensuring that they thrive even in the face of dwindling foreign exchange earnings. It also vowed to create the enabling environment for them to carry out their businesses unhindered.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Emefiele at an interactive session with UK Business Team in Abuja on Thursday, noted that the government was doing everything to ensure that investors in the Nigerian economy get the necessary support to grow their companies.
Adebayo who facilitated the meeting had posited that the growth of these companies would mean more money for the government to build more infrastructures and also create jobs for the teeming Nigerian youths. This is as representatives of the companies lauded the CBN for funding of local companies and the various reforms put in place to assist in keeping them in business.
They, however, solicited for more forex for them to continue in business, saying they needed foreign exchange to pay their lenders and maintain their machines. Some of the companies present at the interactive session included GlaxoSmithkline, Savanna Energy, AzuraPower West Africa, Guiness Plc. Representative of GlaxoSmithkline, a pharmaceutical company, Omon Elyhibro who lauded the Minister and the CBN governor for the support they have received from the government in their 50 years operation in the country, said it is their desire to make the country the export hub for pharmaceutical products.
This, he said, would be realised through their partnership with local manufacturers, pointing out that CBN support for the local manufacturing companies was commendable. Managing Director of Azura Power West Africa, Edu Okeke also lauded the CBN for its support for the power generation company but sought more support in terms of forex to enable the company to stay afloat.
He said the company needed forex not only to pay their lenders outside the country but also for the maintenance of their plants. Okeke who commended the CBN for the various reforms put in place that has helped the growth of the sector, stressed that the reforms have helped to unlock the sector.
Emefiele who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Dr. Kingsley Obiora had explained that the CBN was doing its best to assist manufacturers with forex, pointing out that there are only three main sources of forex inflow to the Nigerian economy.
These are through the sale of crude oil, remittances from Nigerians abroad and foreign investors.
He noted that the fall in the prices of crude oil has affected the inflow of forex adding that this informed the ban on the importation of goods that can be produced locally to ensure judicious use of the available forex.
He assured that some of the suggestions raised by the companies would be looked into to assist them in their daily operations.