UBA Boss calls for economic diversification

Femi Olaloku, Executive Director, Treasury and International Banking, UBA Plc has called on the Federal and State governments to move 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.

L-R: Executive Director, Treasury and International Banking, UBA Plc, Mr. Femi Olaloku with Selloua Chakri, Head of Market Structure Strategy, MEA, Bloomberg L.P.

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.

“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.

Further devaluation of the naira is imminent, this will make the importation of goods into the country more expensive, encourage local manufacturing and inflow of foreign capital, according to Olaloku.  

He assured that Nigerian banks have 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.” 

He 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, he urged that the right policies and measures be put in place, to fully tap the increased potential of the Nigerian economy. 

Earlier in his welcome remarks, Oscar Onyema, CEO, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), said it is 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 said.

Selloua Chakri, Head of Market Structure Strategy, MEA, Bloomberg L.P. said Africa remained key to the success of the institution, adding that Bloomberg remains committed to bringing transparency to the capital market to enable a more liquid market.

The Managing Directors, First Bank, Mr. Bisi Onasanya, and Zenith Bank, Mr. Peter Amangbo were also part of the panel. 
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