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Nigeria, UK partner to sign ETIP Agreement

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By Usman Oladimeji

ETIP is a significant stride towards the Free Trade Agreement.

The Nigerian government and the United Kingdom (UK) have finalized a new agreement known as the Enhanced Trade Investment Partnership (ETIP). This monumental step aims to amplify trade between the two nations by diminishing market access obstacles and regulatory barriers that have discouraged potential investors. ETIP is a groundbreaking alliance, serving as a precursor to a full-fledged Free Trade Agreement, and marks an unprecedented collaboration between Nigeria and the United Kingdom. Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, the Nigerian Minister for Trade and Investment, and Kemi Badenoch, the UK Secretary of State for Business and Trade, signed the agreement during Badenoch’s inaugural trip to Nigeria since taking office in the UK parliament.

According to Badenoch, the UK government’s has a strong commitment to support Nigeria in addressing its trade deficit by focusing on expanding exports. During a discussion, she emphasized that Nigeria is viewed by the UK as a nation with immense prospects. Commenting on the ETIP agreement, she provided clarification that it serves as a significant stride towards the Free Trade Agreement, aiming to enhance trade for both countries. In her perspective, this essentially entails a bilateral treaty which delves into the possibilities of collaboration in various sectors like finance and law.

There is need to explore ways to diminish market access hindrances.

Notably, the main aim is to establish a conducive environment for business and investment, fostering a mutually beneficial environment between the two nations. She expressed the need to explore approaches for diminishing market access and regulatory hindrances that impede investments in either Nigeria or the UK. The focus lies in devising strategies that foster reciprocal economic advantages for both nations. She emphasized their determination to take further actions and address any challenges or requests that may arise. This partnership forum serves as a means for the leadership of both nations to actively interact.

All countries are currently grappling with a range of worldwide economic obstacles, she added. Predominantly, almost every nation is entangled in the complexity of excessive inflation or inflation levels surpassing the necessary actions, ultimately dampening the appeal for investments. Apart from signing the ETIP alongside the Nigeria minister of trade and investment, she expressed her intention to engage with additional ministers. The purpose behind these meetings is to explore potential avenues for enhancing the business landscape for British enterprises, a development that could potentially extend its positive influence to other nations.

Collaboration is poised to take the partnership to new heights.

Sparking earlier, Dr. Uzoka-Anite stated that the ETIP would result in a surge of financial influx to Nigeria, with expectations to increased trade activities between the two nations. Despite previous trading endeavours between both nations, this collaboration is poised to take the partnership to new heights. As a result, both Nigeria and the UK will establish a stronger bond, elevating each other as preferred counterparts for mutual trade and investment. According to him, the ETIP is a phenomenal accomplishment that holds immense significance for the business sector. The business community will be the driving force behind investments and trading activities, making it a source of great excitement.

Uzoka-Anite highlighted that this action aligns with the president’s comprehensive eight-point plan, aimed at fostering stronger connections, stimulating economic growth, enhancing investment and trade, eradicating poverty, and fortifying our diplomatic ties with various nations, specifically the UK. As per the official statement, Badenoch’s visit to Lagos will encompass meetings with prominent entities such as Standard Chartered Bank, Avanti Satellite Communications, and IHS Towers. Additionally, he will have a meeting with the British development finance institution and the British International Investment (BII) to explore and engage in constructive conversations about the potential trade prospects and investment opportunities that can benefit businesses on either end.

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During his visit, Badenoch accompanied Helen Grant, the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Girls Education, on a tour of the new British school’s campus under construction in Lekki Ajah, Lagos. Expressing her excitement, Badenoch hailed the Charterhouse site as a testament to the remarkable progress being made, marking it as the inaugural independent school from the UK in West Africa. John Todd, the Head/Director of Education at Charterhouse School, expressed his immense pleasure in hosting the UK Secretary of State for Business and Trade at Charterhouse Lagos.

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