The Executive Director, Treasury and International Banking, United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA),Femi Olaloku, has called on federal and state governments to diversify the productive base and foreign exchange earnings of the Nigerian economy in order to overcome the challenges brought about by dwindling revenues from crude oil sales.
Olaloku made the call while speaking as one of the panel discussants at the Bloomberg/Nigerian Stock Exchange CEO Roundtable on the banking and oil industry, held in Lagos recently.
“Dwindling oil prices around the globe poses serious challenges to a developing economy like Nigeria, hence the need for government to also consider various diversification options,” he said.
Read also: Nigeria’s Foreign Reserves Dip By $673.13m
Further devaluation of the naira was imminent, he predicted, saying that this will make the importation of goods into the country more expensive, encourage local manufacturing and inflow of foreign capital.
He assured that Nigerian banks had been strengthened over the last few years and are now well positioned to fund new opportunities that the country may wish to explore as a result of dwindling oil prices.
“We have a banking system that is today a lot stronger than what it was 10 years ago. Whether in power infrastructure, or in the agriculture, Nigerian banks have been able to meet the growing demand for funding.”
The United Bank for Africa Plc, CEO, however advised that the country needs to leverage on the successful political change of power, and the resulting increased foreign interest in Nigeria to drive economic growth.
While expressing optimism on the growth opportunities available in the Nigerian economy, a statement quoted him to have also stressed the need for the right policies and measures be put in place, to fully tap the increased potential of the Nigerian economy.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the CEO, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE),Oscar Onyema, said it was important for banks to evolve strategies to boost the nation’s GDP.
“Nigerian banks will have to fashion out strategies to assist the country to wade through the various challenges that the dwindling oil fortunes present to the country,” he added.