With less than 24 hours to the European Union referendum to determine United Kingdom’ s membership of the EU, many have wondered what becomes of the Nigerian economy and her citizens in the UK, in the aftermath of the poll.
There are possible general consequences and those that may be specific to Nigeria.
With Brexit, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the United Kingdom would have to reach a new understanding on tariffs and other quota systems. Although, its doubtful that the process would be problematic.
The UK development assistance to Nigeria and other countries is delivered both bilaterally and through the EU. And Nigerians would not expect much if any change in the total envelope, given the traditionally close bilateral ties and Nigeria’s strategic importance.
Beyond the short term, Nigeria’s economy would not see a downside for the prime Central London property market.
There is however, one clear advantage from the UK’s withdrawal for Nigerian and other non-EU nationals with professional qualifications.
Currently, many large companies in the UK will only consider such applications once all EU candidates have been considered.
It should be noted that the UK is not a member of the Eurozone. Sterling has sold off ahead of the referendum, and some investment banks are suggesting a further fall as far as 1.10 for dollar in the event of Brexit.
Renewed weakness is also perceived to be consistent with a period of legal uncertainty. The path of Euro is less clear since some market analysis centre on the possibility that other EU members might favour their own Brexit. This fear is overdone in many’s view.
London’s role as a financial centre would be diminished by the loss of some Euro denominated activity in currencies and fixed income. There may not be a loss of business in other areas, least of all in natural resources.
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