British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing
By Emmanuel Elebeke, Abuja
The UK Government has promised to support Nasarawa State in the area of trade and investment.
The British High Commissioner, Catriona Laing, made the promise during her visit to the state for high-level discussions with the state governor and key stakeholders in the state government, civil society and business leaders.
During the two-day visit, the High Commissioner visited the Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule and commended the Governor on his achievements in his first two years in office including an increase in the state’s education budget to 35% and improving business environment indicators, attracting investment and carrying out some concrete investment to improve the lives of citizens.
They also discussed current efforts to stimulate the economy in the state.
During the visit, the High Commissioner got the chance to see at first hand some of the investment opportunities in the state.
Known as the “Home of Solid minerals”, the state houses solid minerals of economic potentials such as zinc, lead, gold, tin and tantalite.
During her stay in Nasarawa State, the High Commissioner visited the Nasarawa Bus Terminal in Karu, to witness the progress the initiative is taking as construction at the site continues.
The planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that will operate from the bus station, expected to improve the lives of Nasarawa residents.
She also aligns with Nigeria’s climate change commitments in its new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), where 22% of transport kilometres should be BRTs by 2030. She visited a second bus terminal under construction in Lafia.
The High Commissioner also attended her first Durbar in Nigeria, at the Lafia Stadium where she met with some of Nasarawa’s traditional leaders and thanked the leaders for honouring her and spoke about the need to continually celebrate and uphold history, culture and tradition.
The visit to Nasarawa State was an opportunity for the High Commissioner to stop over at the Kilema Local Rice Mill.
The UK has helped develop flood and drought-resilient rice varieties for Nigeria and introduced techniques to reduce the amount of water but also the amount of methane that arises when rice is grown. This is also another element of Nigeria’s climate change commitments – at least 50% of Nigeria’s rice should be grown this way.
She also visited a cassava processing centre which she was pleased to see was still continuing after the UK’s support more than 10 years ago.
In advancing the agricultural sector of the state, the UK Government has previously supported a fertiliser distribution and livestock vaccination system that still exists in Nasarawa State.
On animal vaccines, the UK leveraged a community-based organisation, FAHCI to establish a vaccinators’ network and to prime the market. FAHCI has continued to stock vaccines in their Lafia office and retail to vaccinators that come from the rural parts of Lafia, Doma and Akwanga LGAs. We continue to support research and production of animal vaccines as well as researching drought and flood resilient seeds and nutritious crops.
At the end of the visit, Laing, said: “The UK Government supports Nigerian Government’s economic reform efforts, including diversification of the economy to promote conditions for sustainable and inclusive growth. We continue to lead efforts to mobilise the international community and the Nigerian Government to do more.
Our trade and investment relationship goes across a number of sectors and we want to increase that investment, especially in the non-oil sectors that make up over 90% of Nigeria’s economy and which are key to Nigeria’s recovery after the COVID-19 recession.
Being here in Lafia has helped me see at first hand the many great investment opportunities Nasarawa State has to offer and I’m very grateful to Governor Abdullahi Sule for inviting me.”