Mixed feelings trail impact of Brexit on Nigeria

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Experts across various sectors have said that the decision of Britain to exit the European Union would have both positive and negative impact on Nigeria.

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While some trade experts warned that the exit would take a toll on UK’s Gross Domestic Product, which is expected to shrink over time, resulting in scaling back on its investments in development projects in Nigeria, others argued that the nations can trade directly with each other.

A trade expert, Dr. Sola Ojo told our correspondent that the UK economy would scale back its investment in development projects in Nigeria.

Ojo, who was a consultant to the Federal Government on trade,  disclosed that the current trade value between the two countries is over £10 billion.

He said, “The immediate past administrations in Nigeria and the United Kingdom have expressed optimism to double their bilateral trade by 2016. The exit would cause the trade value to slide to a certain extent if the governments fail to restrategise.”

He also expressed fears that the development would make the UK government to introduce a stricter visa process.

” It is expected that Britain will be very strict on visa applications, especially from countries like Nigeria, which has a large visa applicants to the UK. That will affect over two million Nigerians living in UK, ” Ojo said.

According to him, owing to the fact that migrants, including Nigerians were being held responsible for a lot of problems in that country, the indications had become clearer that they must prepare for harder days ahead.

An investment analyst, Mr. Peter Adebayo, explained that the development would discourage some Nigerian businessmen from investing in Britain, since the country would no longer offer full access to the lucrative EU market.

“The benefits of deepening integration and socio-economic development through economic blocs in Africa, especially Nigeria would be punctured due to the exit from the union,” he said.

However, a UK-based industry watcher, Mr. Kayode Soyinka, noted that the development was a win-win situation.

Soyinka therefore urged President Muhammadu Buhari to  take advantage of the crisis within the EU following the UK’s imminent exit to negotiate a new trade agreement with the nation.

“Nigeria should negotiate new trade terms directly with the UK when it eventually leaves the EU. Here lies the opportunity for Africa to strike new trading deals with the UK directly, because by the time it leaves the EU in two years time, it would, as a country now on its own, have no trade agreement with any country in Africa or anywhere in the world,” he said.

Soyinka added that the UK would now have to start all over again and be able to decide on who it would like to trade with, on what terms, rather than having to go through the bureaucracy of the EU trading bloc.

He added that Nigeria should be delighted that she had yet to sign the controversial Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU, a pact which might restrict it from trading directly with the union.