British PM envoy commends FG on new visa policy, wants naira strengthened

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Abuja, March 2, 2017 (NAN) The UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria, Mr John Howell, has commended the Federal Government on the review of its visa policy, which he said would enhance doing business in Nigeria.

Howell said in Abuja on Thursday that the new visa policy would boost the country’s economy.

In its efforts to boost the economy and open up business space, the Federal Government in February reviewed visa processes for prospective foreign investors and tourists.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said that the essence of the new visa policy was to remove bureaucratic bottlenecks and encourage business travellers and tourists into the country.

He added that the measures were part of the action plan to ease doing business in Nigeria and boost tourism.

“The Nigeria Immigration Service has reviewed the requirements for Nigerian visas to make them more customers friendly.

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“Types of visas currently reviewed include Visa on Arrival (VoA) processes, Business Visas, Tourist Visas and Transit Visas,” the minister said.

Howell told NAN that some of the changes made by Nigerian Government would make life better for visitors coming into Nigeria.

“For example the change in visa regulations that allows companies to buy visa at the airport will enable visitors buy visa at your country’s airport, ‘he said.

The envoy, who observed that obtaining Nigerian visa used take a long process, said, “making it easier will make more businesses to visit Nigeria.’’

He also lauded some measures being taken by the Nigerian Government to redeem its economy and stressed the need to strengthen the naira.

“Nigeria is at a cross road and it is going down on the root of substantial reform and that is good. I personally believe that will make it quicker.

“I think the issue of the value of naira is a challenge and there is need to overcome the difficulties of the naira of not being too convincible.

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“It is a major problem and that has to be dealt with sooner than later,’’ he said.

Howell said there was need for the Nigerian government to make the naira stronger, adding that it would continue to pose as challenge to doing business.

“My advice to the government is to be bold with this and to fulfill what they themselves set out with the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2016.

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