By Babajide Komolafe
PRESIDENT/Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Bankers’ of Nigeria (CIBN), Dr. Uche Olowu has called on the federal government to allow increased private sector participation in the development of the country.
Olowu gave this charge while speaking in Lagos at the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN), 2020 Economic Outlook sponsored by Polaris Bank Limited. He said: “The only way government can boost the country’s economic growth is to be market oriented, that is, by allowing the private sector to do more. There is no way the public sector can sustain the rebuilding of this economy. We need a level playing field, a healthy competition that will be fair, transparent and open to rule of law.”
Speaking further, Olowu expressed optimism that Nigeria’s plan to diversify the economy away from crude oil earnings will boost foreign investors’ confidence in the economy, adding that as soon as the economy is diversified, the country will see higher accretion to the foreign reserves and improved confidence in the economy.
He said opportunities in the agricultural sector should be explored to improve the country’s capacity to export agric products, adding that the country has so much to gain by investing in agriculture, which will boost foreign reserves.
Olowu noted that access to credit is also a key factor that will lead to economic growth and development.
Olowu also spoke to the Federal Government’s policies in 2019, saying bankers are now deploying manpower to get highest returns. He said the banking industry is now open to creative minds that are ready to explore untapped areas in the economy. According to him, the issue of Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) has been taken care of at the top level in the industry as there is no hiding place for serial loan defaulters.
Olowu further stated that Nigeria’s economy would experience a gradual growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as impact of agric investments begins to materialize.