Thursday, May 25, 2017 4.00pm/Proshare WebTV
Nigeria’s economic recovery from the current recession, will depend largely on the stability in the oil-rich Niger-Delta region of the country.
The CEO of Nairametrics Mr Ugochukwu Obi-Chukwu asserted this as the keynote speaker at the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce May breakfast meeting in Lagos.
Focusing on the theme “The Nigerian Economy and 2017 Outlook for the Financial Sector”, Mr Obi-Chukwu noted that with the Q1, 2017 GDP economic growth report showing a fifth consecutive contraction at -0.52%, policy steps by the government from the fiscal to monetary sides will be critical.
He said with stability so far in the region, oil production had gained to about 2ml bpd and the international crude oil price is currently $53 per barrel, which remains favourable for Nigeria in revenue terms.
The Chartered Accountant listed President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice-President President Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Dr Bukola Saraki, Mrs Kemi Adeosun (Minister of Finance), Senator Udoma Udo Udoma (Minister of Budget and National Planning) Mr Godwin Emefiele (Governor,Central Bank of Nigeria) amongst others.
Assessing the government efforts so far since the recession, he highlighted the following as key steps taken by the current administration, namely; passage of 2017 record budget N7.1trl, Executive orders on Ease of Doing Business, Fast-tracking budget process and Using Made-In-Nigeria, Introduction of the Central Bank Forex windows, Oil sector deals i.e crude oil swap deals and RBOT process for refineries.
Others are the Eurobond issuance, launch of the ERGP, Social Investment Plan (N41bl expenditure so far), Increase in Amnesty spending for Niger-Delta(N35bl), Focus on Agriculture, Intervention funds for Bank of Agriculture and Development Bank.
Looking at the Forex policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nairametrics boss agreed with the fact that the several FX windows from the CBN, had to an extent addressed the issues of the market.
He expressed optimism that the market will eventually yield to a single window, while giving his opinion that the clamour for the “floating of the naira” to solve liquidity issues, may not suffice at the moment.
On the Financial market, Obi-Chukwu noted that despite the recession in 2016, the total profit of banks soared to about N421bl. According to him “There has been a giant shift to e-business”, which he stressed was the next level of transformation for the financial services market.
Giving the outlook for 2017 financial services, he said the key focus of banks should be exploring and harnessing the opportunities in Fintech, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies, which he believed will revolutionize the industry.