As Nigeria deepens diversification talks, and takes steps towards non-reliance of oil for revenue, the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) have secured a number of bank managing directors and well placed financial experts to discuss Nigeria’s non-oil economic prospects at its forthcoming workshop.
A statement from the association indicated that the event, slated for Saturday September 21 at Golden Tulip Hotel, FESTAC Town Lagos, will have Abubakar Bello, the managing director, NEXIM, deliver the keynote speech on a theme “Unlocking Opportunities in Nigeria’s non-oil sector.”
FICAN said Ifie Sekibo, managing director/CEO Heritage Bank Limited, will be the guest speaker.
The association noted that the workshop will also bring together experts from global multilateral financial institutions, public and private sector players, to highlight and examine the various options available in getting the economy fully diversified away from reliance on crude oil.
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Scheduled for the event is a panel discussion that will feature Isaac Okoroafor, director corporate communications at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); Taiwo Oyedele, head of tax and corporate advisory services, PwC Nigeria, and Adi Bongo, senior lecturer at Lagos Business School.
In the statement, FICAN said unlocking the non-oil sector requires collaborative efforts between the government and private sector. It added that opportunities in the sector have to be harnessed for effective economic growth.
“The non-oil sector is critical to Nigeria’s sustainable economic growth as it is the largest source of employment to the country’s huge young population,” FICAN explained.
Explaining further, the association said, before the discovery of crude oil in Nigeria in 1956, the non-oil sector, especially the agricultural sector, was the mainstay of the economy.
“The agricultural sector alone provided 85 percent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings in the 60s. The oil sector now provides over 95 percent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
The challenge is that frequent fluctuation in oil prices has made the Nigerian economy often susceptible to shocks as the economy suffers whenever prices are down. The challenge is further worsened as the world is beginning to look at life after oil in a bid to tackle climate change. It is a pointer that crude oil would become less relevant and attract fewer earnings in years to come. Successive governments have not done enough to tap into other potential non-oil sector sectors,” the association said.
Noting that government’s long term plan is seen in its launching of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) for 2017–2020 that contains critical reforms for diversifying the economy away from oil, the association said the most populous African economy is thus set on a path of sustained and inclusive growth over the medium- to long-term.
The conference, according to FICAN, will be attended by journalists covering money market, capital market and the insurance industry, from the print and electronic media.