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At a time organised labour unions in Nigeria are mobilising for a deadly industrial action, the newly elected President and Chairman of Council of Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), Mr. Ray C. Atelly, has described the economy as the last hope of the common citizen and warned that the daily flow of economic activities should not be disrupted.

Atelly, said this recently in Lagos, in his acceptance speech as the president of the NBCC, in which he advised private businesses in the country to join trade associations, especially the NBCC, without waiting to be compelled by unfavourable government policies.

He said: “I dare say that the economy is now the last hope of the common citizen. Let nothing disrupt the daily flow of economic activities, so that the quality of life in Nigeria is not further diminished.

He added: “For those who are busy fulfilling their corporate mandates with no time to spare or volunteer, I urge you to reconsider. The harvest is plenty but the laborers are few. If you join us today, in any way you can, we shall become more formidable and our impact shall reverberate beyond this country.


 “Do not wait until obnoxious policies start crippling your sector before you come running. Now is the time to join, make ready and defend your turf with the collective strength that defies intimidation.”

According to him, the NBCC would dialogue regularly and work together to better the lot of private sector players in Nigeria and Britain.


“But partners do not dialogue on the pages of newspapers and the absence of public confrontation does not mean acquiescence. We shall engage respectfully but won’t forget that livelihoods may be jeopardised and breadwinners thrown out of work if we fail to be as persuasive as situations demand.”

Atelly, stated that his call for businesses to join chamber movements was informed by his personal experience that, “to influence government policy or get the behemoth called government to listen to the shrill voice of business; you need a trade association to interchange ideas and form an alliance of well-orchestrated voices that will regularly advocate for the private sector players, as a collective.”


He also highlighted that the NBCC was not a political party, but a pressure group with an economic agenda to protect the business interests of its members.

He said: “We are not pro or anti any party. So, when a government takes the right steps that improve the operating environment for business, we recognise and applaud. But where the reverse, in our collective opinion, is the case, we must kick and push with facts and figures, until the anomaly is set aside.”


Atelly added that, “we shall be partners in progress with the Nigerian and British governments. We shall equally dialogue with other chambers and business interests in the United Kingdom.

“We shall open up investment opportunities in Nigeria to our British colleagues. We also stand ready to assist sub-national governments in Nigeria to attract tangible investments that would create gainful employment for its citizenry.”

The newly-elected president said that he would reveal his loaded plan of action that promises to build on the laudable achievements of his predecessors after the chambers’ executive officers’ retreat.

He, however, emphasised that there is unity of purpose in the NBCC, which is the bedrock of its indomitable strength.


“Working as a team, we shall do our best to elevate our chamber and break new grounds.

“We shall regularly communicate our plans and actions to all stakeholders and I invite you to hold me accountable for any lapses that may occur.


“As we watch economic policies and events in Nigeria, so shall we monitor events in Britain. Wherever our members are, there we must be and actively contribute towards creating an enabling environment for their lawful operations,” Atelly said.

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