The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association has commended the Federal Government on the recent signing of bilateral agreements between Nigeria and South Africa.
Its Director-General, Timothy Olawale, who spoke on Friday in Lagos, said that the bilateral agreements were laudable and needed for closer cooperation and economic growth.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Nigeria and South Africa had on October 3 signed 30 trade and cooperation agreements.
NECA is the umbrella organisation of employers in the Organised Private Sector of Nigeria.
Olawale, in a statement, applauded the presence of many South African investors in Nigeria which had boosted the economies of both counties.
According to him, this is the result of encouraging bilateral trade relations that existed between the two nations.
“The South African State has not only opened up Nigeria’s economy to South African investments and exports, it has also done so through bilateral agreements and a Bi-national Commission.
“Bilateral agreements gave impetus to South African companies’ presence in the Nigerian economy, especially in areas such as telecommunication, engineering, banking, retail, hospitality, property development, construction and tourism, to mention a few.
“In terms of technology and infrastructure, South Africa has an edge over Nigeria, while Nigeria has an advantage of large market potential for investments over South Africa.
“This is why there are lots of South African companies with huge investments in Nigeria,’’ he said.
The director-general, however, urged government to focus on supporting local businesses in improving their competitiveness in order to forestall South Africa investors in dominating the Nigerian economy in the near future.
According to him, of greater importance is the need for local businesses to remain productive and competitive.
He said: “As incentives are given to attract investments, efforts must be made to support existing businesses to remain sustainable, expand to create more employment and contribute to the national development.
“There is need for government, through the Foreign Ministry to always, as a point of importance, carry the private sector along on some of the agreements, especially in terms of implementations in the various areas of ICT, trade, among others.”