On Tuesday, 28th of February 2017, the Deputy President of the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce Mr. Akin Olawore led a delegation to Abuja for a breakfast meeting with the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy, Mr John Howell OBE.
The Breakfast Meeting which was very interactive also had in attendance the new Deputy British High Commissioner; Mrs Laure Beaufils, the Director of Department for International Trade; Mr Ahmed Bashir MBE, the Honorable Treasurer NBCC; Mrs Bisi Adeyemi, Representatives from the British High Commission, Representatives from the Department for International Development (DFID), Council Members of the Chamber and Members of NBCC Abuja Network.
Mr Olawore in his welcome speech said ‘the Nigerian-British Chamber is 40 years old this year and was founded in 1977 in Lagos: an outcome of a discussion two years earlier, between Mr. Adam Thompson (later Sir Adam Thompson), Chairman of the then British Caledonian Airways and Chief (Dr) Henry Fajemirokun, CON (both of blessed memory) who were also the founding president’. he mentioned that the Chamber had over 350 Members in all sectors of the economy. He listed the different sectoral groups of the Chamber and its benefits to the Members.
Announcing the activities for the anniversary celebration at the breakfast meeting in Abuja, the Deputy President, Mr Akin Olawore said the Chamber had launched an NBCC-DCSL MSME Centre at DCSL Corporate Services Limited a partnership between the Chamber and DCSL, aside the MSME centre, the NBCC also plans to hold anniversary lecture as well as Photo/Arts exhibition coming up on the 28th of April, which would also include a documentary of milestones covered in the past 40 years.
“The NBCC Golf Tournament; the Gala Dinner and Dance/ Patrons’ Investiture in June; visits to selected states, as well as the Trade Mission to the UK, focusing on the maritime sector, mining and mineral resources sector, finance and investment, are all part of the activities marking the 40th anniversary of NBCC,” Olawore said.
He mentioned that the Chamber had gotten an interim accreditation from the British Chamber of Commerce and expects full accreditation when the Council meets. He mentioned that the relationship with DFID, the British High Commission has continued to grow stronger irrespective of the challenges both countries may be experiencing, and also mentioned that the Chamber had been rewriting the narratives of Nigerian trade to encourage more inwards Missions from UK that will enable investors get out of the nervousness caused by stories being told about Nigeria.
The UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria, stressed the importance of engaging the Nigerian Diaspora in boosting business and trade with Nigeria. in addition, Mr Ahmed Bashir, MBE; the Director of Department of International Trade gave an example of a lady who produces baby food but was unable to do much in the UK due to market saturation but reverse was the case after relocating back to Nigeria where she could not meet the demand for same product.
The Economic Development Team Leader and Senior Economic Adviser, DFID Nigeria, Mr. Richard Ough also mentioned opportunities for Nigeria to diversify its economy and embrace policies that encourage global trade.
The new UK Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria Mrs Laure Beaufils informed Members at the Breakfast Meeting that prosperity is at the heart of what the UK Government want to help generate in Nigeria
Mr Abidemi Salami; Managing Director Mezzagers, urged the NBCC and the UK Government to look towards investment in Waste & Environmental Management.