The target set by Nigeria to become the 20th largest economy in the world by the year 2020 may not be achievable as proposed.
This was the submission of Alaba Olusemore, a top banker and financial analyst while speaking at the occasion of the 12th anniversary of Nigerian banking consolidation held at Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Lagos.
Olusemore who is also the CEO of Nesbet Consulting Limited, however, noted that Nigeria has derived a lot of positives from the banking consolidation, the financial systems strategy 2020 and vision 2020.
He, therefore, urged those in the helm of affairs of the country not to relent in their efforts even as the year 2020 is close by the corner, saying a lot could still be done if the above policies are followed to the logical conclusion.
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In his assessment, the National Co-ordinator Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) Adebisi Adeniyi who represented Sunny Nwosu said that Nigeria economically should be better off if the government at all levels sincerely support the private sector.
He said that because of parochial tendencies on the part of public and private sector leaders most of the policies cannot but have fault lines.
According to him if the Nigerian people are genuinely empowered, they will achieve the country’s aims of being among the best economies in the world.
However, he stressed that this can only be achieved with a renewed mindset among the leaders and the followers, maintaining that the people should be the centre of every developmental policy.
Pat Anyadubalu, a lawyer and public affairs analyst, noted that in the issues of financial intermediation laws bothering on ownership of landed properties needs to be ironed out since it seems to be the main collateral required by banks.
Consolidation was a major policy initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria, aimed at making Nigeria banks competitive globally through the enhanced capital base. It produced 21 banks out of 89.
At the moment there are 23 commercial banks; 4 merchant banks; one non-interest bank; several microfinance institutions, which replaced the community banks had been established. The primary mortgage sector has also been restructured to provide mortgage finance.
“All of these are now under the direct supervision of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation. Part of the CBN directives is that there should be concentration on ‘true’ mortgage financing that will provide long-term mortgage loans for residential purposes’.
While three foreign banks, which are Barclays Bank Plc, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan have representative offices in Nigeria currently.
It would be recalled that vision 2020 initiative was introduced by the President Olusegun Obasanjo Administration, framed and planned by the President Umar Yar’Adua regime and largely executed, so far, by the President Goodluck Jonathan Government.
It posited that various government policies such as the NEEDS, SEEDS, banking consolidation etc by Obasanjo, the seven-point agenda of Yar’Adua, the Industrial revolution plan, Agriculture transformation Agenda, rebasing of the economy of Jonathan period and the current recovery plan of President Muhammadu Buhari are all geared obviously to achieve the vision 2020 which aims to make Nigeria the 20th largest economy globally.