The Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), Lord Marland, has expressed optimism that fair, open, and transparent general elections on February 25 and March 11 would recharge Nigeria’s economy and enhance investment inflows to the country.
Lord Marland expressed this view when he addressed journalists in Lagos during his recent visit to Nigeria.
He said: “I feel confident that after the elections things will start recharging again. The key for any organisation to invest in a country is rule of law, transparency, the integrity of the deal, and understanding the rules of engagement. I see Nigeria on a pathway to establishing that more clearly.”
Lord Marland added that the CWEIC is “hopeful that there will be fair, open, and transparent elections that will follow the democratic process and we will support the democratically elected leader because we are non-political.
“I hope that we have a fair, open, and transparent election so that people will know the direction of their travel to regenerate the economy.”
He also said that Nigeria’s economy would be in full steam once the election is over as the new government that would be sworn in begins to give direction to the economy.
“Nigerians are incredibly entrepreneurial and business-focused people. I think that once the sense of mission and direction the new government will give, things will take off again,” he said.
Lord Marland, however, noted that the Commonwealth is faced with major challenges, which are climate change and youth unemployment.
“I think that our generation has two legacy issues that we need to confront. One is climate change. I was minister for Climate Change in the UK so that is something close to our heart to do and as you rightly said the issue of youth unemployment is really a big responsibility.
“But what I have been saying to businesses throughout the Commonwealth is that it is a legacy to ensure that youths who are under 30 years can see a future and have hope and have opportunities by scaling them up, educating them, and providing jobs for them.
“Jobs can only be provided in the time of prosperity. We have had these sizable awful global shocks from the COVID and the Ukraine war, which have really setback the prosperity and growth of countries.
“So through trade and export and business activities growth can be developed again and we consider ourselves as a support act to the companies,” Lord Marland said.
He said that the CWEIC would provide the network and connectivity for those businesses to drive themselves and make necessary investments to lift the economy, adding ensuring “food security is very much at the top of the council’s agenda for Nigeria.
“I am meeting with agri-businesses here to discuss how we can help the onward movement of improving productivity. And we had a conference in London in December 2022 and one of the key things was climate change and its effect on food security.
“The network that we have provides opportunities for people to discuss opportunities in improving agricultural productivity and quality. Because you know that in our network, we have some of the major agro-businesses that dialogue with each other across the Commonwealth and exchange views that will enable people to enhance their productivity.”