The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to diversify the economy and review its policy to stir the country away from import dependence and increase non-oil revenue.
A past president of the institute and keynote speaker, Mr Laoye Jaiyeola, made the call at an advocacy dialogue webinar organised by the Centre for Financial Studies (CFS) of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Lagos.
The CIBN Advocacy Dialogue was centred around the theme COVID-19: “Tough Choices for Banking and other Businesses.”
Other speakers at the event were Mr. Demola Sogunle, Managing Director/CEO, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc; Mr. Olawale Timothy, Director General, Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and Dr. Hippolytee Fofack, Chief Economist/Director Research and International Cooperation, Afrexim Bank.
Mr. Jaiyeola, a CIBN past president and Director-General of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), said the economic outlook for Nigeria was not favourable considering the sharp fall in global oil prices and the impact of the coronavirus on the economy.
He projected higher inflation rate against the backdrop of forex exchange shortages, devaluation arising from diminishing forex reserves and increase spending by the government to reinflate the economy.
Jaiyeola called on the government to review its economic policy and ensure a quick diversification of the economy to stir the country away from import dependence and increase non-oil revenue.
Dr. Sogunle stated that “Nigeria has been hit by twin shocks – the COVID-19 pandemic and declining oil prices.
“In order for us to mitigate the negative impact of the twin shocks, we need to maintain delicate balance between saving the lives of our people and growing the economy. These twin shocks are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and both can be pursued simultaneously,” he said.
Dr. Sogunle also stressed the need to diversify the economy from over-reliance on crude oil as a source of revenue and focus more on the real sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and SMEs.
Besides, Sogunle said that digitisation was clearly the way to go and future of banking going forward.”
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