Abeokuta – Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday urged Nigerian banks to invest more in the agricultural sector for increased productivity and food security.
Obasanjo made the call in Abeokuta at the 2019 Annual Conference of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN).
The theme of the three-day conference is “Banking in the Digital Age: Opportunities And Challenges”.
Obasanjo, who noted that Nigeria’s population was growing at a faster rate than its agricultural sector, said such situation could spell doom for the nation if not reversed.
“Ordinarily, population is supposed to be an asset for a nation, but if it is not carefully managed it could turn to a liability and result in a crisis,’’, he said.
He added that increased funding of the agricultural sector would also help to provide employment for the citizens, particularly, the youths.
“One thing that I believe will help us is to provide employment and probably part of what will help us is agric business.
“You people in the baking business must pay attention to how we build the agric sector.
“I am talking of the whole value chain beginning from land preparation and if we are able to get that right, we will be able to get the issue of employment for our teeming youths right.
“Surely, we will be able to get even the issue of rural development right, and ultimately able to close the wide gap between the haves and the have not.
“The living standards of our people will increase and enhance their prosperity,’’ he said.
The elder statesman noted that a good political system and an effective system of governance must be in place for such a turnaround.
The state governor, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun, while declaring the conference open, noted that audit functions had continued to remain an important arm of the financial control framework.
Amosun was represented by Mr Wale Oshinowo, the state Commissioner of Finance.
“Researches have repeatedly revealed that development is not only a function of prudent management of available funds but also depends on measures put in place for the control of leakage and wastage of the funds,” he said.
He urged the bankers to use the conference as a platform to initiate improved and practical approaches toward ensuring best practices in the financial and audit profession necessary for national development.(NAN)