Base on analysis from economic experts, the decision of the United Kingdom, UK, to leave the European Union, EU, popularly known as BREXIT, is expected to affect Nigeria in the following ways:
First, in some positive ways, it is predicted that as Britain is committed to doing trade with non-EU countries and now freed from the restrictive EU trading codes, they will natural turn to its traditional trading partners such as Nigeria, for greater business opportunities, hence, would be mutually beneficial for the two countries.
During the squabbles for Britain to leave the EU, the main weapon Brexit used to persuade voters to vote for exit was due to uncontrolled EU migration to Britain.
The former London Mayor, Boris Johnson and Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, who led the campaign, argue persuasively that Britain will benefit more if it adopts an Australian-type points-based non-discriminatory migration system which gives equal opportunities to both EU and non-EU citizens to work in the UK.
Under this system, Nigerians, having English as their second language, will have more chances of getting UK work permit visas than say, Romanians. Whereas, under the previous arrangement, a Romanian school drop-out has more chances of getting a job in the UK than a Nigerian PhD holder. Skilled Nigerians could gain a lot under the proposed system.
Although by working in the UK, what Nigeria may miss in their services at home, it will gain in the hard currency they would be sending home, which is highly needed now in this economic crisis.
Thirdly, as Britain emerge from EU, it is probable that getting student visa would be much easier for Nigerians who wish to study in the UK, contrary to when the British government was desperation to meet immigration targets imposed by the EU’s mounting migrant figures.
As part of a restriction scheme, the government abolished a post study visa programme, which grants two-year permit for students to work in Britain after their studies – a system which didn’t enabled the graduates to gain valuable work experience and recoup the money they invested for their study before returning to their countries.
However, the new system being proposed by Brexiteers might restore this programme, and Nigerians would gain from it as well as, British universities, which would earn more money and greater cultural capital from a more liberal student visa system.
On the negative impact of British exit from the EU, it is expected to further weaken the declining Nigerian-EU trades. The UK, the gateway to large part of Nigerian-EU exports, is now facing prospects of duty and other charges in trade relations with the other EU countries.
As UK is one of the major entry points of Nigerian products to the EU. Duty is collected only at the port of entry into the EU, which means that movement of Nigerian goods from UK to the EU has been duty-free. With Brexit, Nigerian products entering EU through UK will now have to be subjected to duty payment and other charges which will increase the price of Nigerian products and make them to become less competitive. This also means that the sale of Nigerian products to the EU is likely going to drop.
Meanwhile there’s a topple in the UK’s stock market as the pound and Euro (£ & €) seem to be loosing it value against the dollar on the foreign exchange market. But it’s impact on the naira is yet to be feasible as it is still at N373.63 per £1.
Although, the President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Tony Ejikeoyen said “it is encouraging for the Naira.”
According to him, Bilateral trade between Nigeria and the UK, currently valued at six billion pounds and projected to reach about 20 billion pounds by 2020 would be affected . And that a shrinking UK economy would definitely have a significant impact on aid programmes to Nigeria, especially DFID programmes, which have been a burning political issue in the UK.
On Nigerians living in UK, the Head, Department of Research and Strategic Studies, Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Lagos, Prof. Charles Dokubo, said, the BREXIT will not in any way affect Nigerians, their academics and businesses and jobs as they are only living in the country.