The Federal Government has assured United Kingdom companies operating in Nigeria of its support at ensuring that they thrived amidst dwindling foreign exchange earnings.
The government also vowed to create the enabling environment for them to carry out their businesses unhindered.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, gave the assurance at an interactive session with a UK Business Team in Abuja, on Thursday.
Adebayo, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr Ifedayo Sayo, noted that the government was doing everything to ensure that investors in the Nigerian economy received the necessary support to grow their businesses.
The minister, who facilitated the meeting, posited that the growth of the companies would mean more money for the government to build more infrastructures and also create jobs for Nigerian youths.
This was as representatives of the companies lauded the CBN for the funding of local companies and the various reforms put in place to assist them in running their businesses.
They, however, solicited for more forex to continue in business, saying that 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 and Guinness Plc.
Omon Elyhibro, a representative of GlaxoSmithkline, a pharmaceutical company, lauded the minister and the CBN governor for the support extended to the company by the government in their 50 years of operation in the country.
Elyhibro said it was their desire to make the country an export hub for pharmaceutical products, through their partnership with local manufacturers, pointing out that the CBN’s support for local manufacturing companies was commendable.
Also, Managing Director of Azura Power West Africa, Edu Okeke, lauded the CBN for its support to the 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 that had helped the growth of the sector, stated that the reforms had helped in unlocking 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.
He added that there were only three main sources of forex inflow to the Nigerian economy, including the sale of crude oil, remittances from Nigerians abroad and foreign investors, noting that the fall in crude oil prices had affected the inflow of forex.
This situation informed the ban on the importation of goods that can be produced locally to ensure judicious use of the available forex.
Emefiele, however, assured that some of the suggestions raised by the companies would be looked into to assist them in their daily operations.