UBA Boss calls for economic diversification

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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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