A group of foreign investors under the European Business Chamber Nigeria (EuroCham), has indicated that European Union trade and investment are very much on top of its priorities, and they are also key priorities in the partnership between the European Union and Nigeria.
Speaking at the meeting of a delegation of European Union officials in Lagos with members of the European Business Chamber Nigeria (EuroCham) to discuss opportunities and challenges of doing business in the country, Samuela Isopi, the EU Ambassador in Nigeria, said the meeting gave opportunity to underline the fact that trade and investment are very much on top of EU priorities, and they are also key priorities in the partnership between the European Union and Nigeria.
Isopi stated: “The European Union as a bloc is already Nigeria’s largest trading partner and also the European Union is a very important investor in Nigeria. “We have European companies that have been here for a long time, that contribute to creating jobs and to the economic development of the country.”
She said the EU would continue its dialogue with the Nigerian government on how to reinforce the economic partnership between the two entities.
“Because development is about the private sector, about developing the economy, and when I say private sector it’s not only to attract or help European Union companies but also create good conditions for the Nigerian private sector to be able to contribute to the development of the country,” she added.
The meeting afforded members of the EuroCham to highlight some of the challenges their businesses face in the country.
“These challenges are faced by both European and Nigerian companies and the companies of any other country. So this is part of our dialogue, to see how together we can help improve the business environment and how together we can actually deal with these challenges,” Isopi said.
John Taylor, EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS’ Head of Trade and Economics Section, said as Nigeria’s largest trading partner, the EU is committed to supporting the Nigerian government in developing its economy.
Earlier, Mary Ojulari, EuroCham President, noted that European businesses operate in a “difficult market” and the roundtable provides an avenue to come together and discuss the issues they are facing and collectively advocate for change.
She said the EuroCham platform has engaged some of the most prominent European companies to assess, review, and improve their business operations through fostering relevant exchange and dialogue with stakeholders.
“There are countless hurdles for we investors in Nigeria ranging from ease of doing business, dealing with regulators, foreign exchange and the list goes on and on,” said Ms Ojulari, deputy managing director at Weststar Associate Limited.
“In line with the objectives of Eurocham, we seek to actively promote trade, investments, and exchanges between European and Nigerian business and to engage central and local government, when necessary, to raise awareness or formulate recommendations on particular issues of interest or concern.
“Our major strength to date is advocacy, advocacy with regulators which has provided a rich opportunity for European members to get insight into policy development in the country.”