The British High Commissioner to Nigeria Mr Richard Montgomery said Wednesday that Nigeria faces big security, economic and social challenges.
Mr Richard Montgomery said this in a goodwill message at a three-day 2023 Cabinet Retreat for ministers, presidential aides, permanent secretaries and top government functionaries at the State House in Abuja.
“In a global context, the big challenges are difficult global economy, shifting geopolitical and foreign policy pressures. And as I said in public before, I applaudu the big and bold economic reforms that you are taking forward. I admire your leadership of ECOWAS, your strong voice on democracy, and your G20 international engagement, all of which have thrust Nigeria back onto the international stage,” he said.
He said United Kingdom was committed to a renewed partnership with Nigeria, the President’s cabinet and with the Nigerian people.
“Nigeria really matters to the UK we share history, we share a commitment to democratic politics, we share interests in defence and security and trade and investment, which has strong people to people needs.
“The Nigerian diaspora creative industries, the sports stars are increasingly central to the UK national culture and life. And we also have strong mutual accountability, development agreements at the federal and the state level, on health, on education on job creation, and on government effectiveness,” he said.
He said the British High Commission in Nigeria has since 2019 had an excellent partnership with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“This is called the partnership to engage, reform and learn. The programme, he said largely handled by Nigerian experts have supported the impressive central coordinating and delivery unit for presidential priorities.
“We can only support the process, not the content that is your sovereign decision of government. But your eight priorities area under the renewed hope agenda, Mr. President, you provide a clarity of purpose.
“Your policy advisory committees have identified plans, milestones and performance indicators that will be discussed at this retreat. And this cabinet retreat can start to use the SGS tracking system for good effect over the coming years to drive delivery to learn from challenges, and to move Nigeria forward.
“Mr. President, no doubt there are challenges ahead. This government has inherited big problems and a tough global context. These are difficult times and people are hurting. Expectations are high. Better delivery is desperately needed.
“But over my long association with Nigeria, and wherever I go in this great country, I have seen the resilience of Nigerians by their creative and can do attitude and by their entrepreneurial spirit. And I’m optimistic that your government, Mr. President, with ambition and clear plans, can remove the constraints on this entrepreneurial spirit and give a helping hand to those people that need it and help move Nigeria forward.
“So Mr. President, I’d like to recognize Nigeria as a growing regional and global powerhouse. You are likely to become the third largest country in the world by 2050. I applaud your plans to stabilise the economy and put it on a higher growth path to prosperity, on which so much else depends.
“The UK stands ready to support in the spirit of mutual respect. The UK stands ready to stand up on our partnerships across a range of areas. And I wish you and your government all best wishes and goodwill in your work ahead,” he said.