Femi Otedola, a Nigerian millionaire and businessman, has called for the support of the UK and US government for Nigerian businesses.
In separate meetings with the ambassadors from both countries, the Forte Oil CEO said the major problem experienced by Nigerian entrepreneurs is access to cheap and long-term capital.
“Nigerians are very entrepreneurial and would latch on to any opportunity to start and grow a business. The problem, however, has been access to cheap and long-term capital which remains an impediment,” he told, Stuart Symington, US ambassador to Nigeria.
“That is where we would like the U.S. to come in by encouraging private equity firms, venture capital and using U.S. export guarantees, among others, to support Nigerian businesses to become competitive and make good returns on their investments.”
On his part, Paul Arkwright, UK ambassador to Nigeria, said the country remained an investment magnate for UK companies seeking to do business on the African continent.
He urged Otedola to collaborate with other Nigerian entrepreneurs and businesses to encourage the federal government on creating a conducive environment for foreign and local businesses to thrive.
“As you know, Nigeria recently improved its ranking on the World Bank’s ease of doing business index by moving up 24 places. But the federal government is not resting on its oars because it wants to improve on the current ranking,” Otedola responded.
“We in the private sector continue to meet with government ministries and agencies and collaborate with them in areas where more improvement is needed so that we can attract more foreign direct investment into the country.
“And I am sure that with the support of the UK government and businesses in some of these areas, we will continue to see improvements in all sectors of the economy.”