As part of efforts to stabilize the Nigerian economy and ensure the eradication of poverty and make for a better Nigerian society, the founder of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr Jim Ovia, has stressed the importance of a vibrant banking sector for the diversification of the Nigerian economy. READ ALSO: BRACE UP: Lagos Will Witness More Than 250 Days Of Rainfall This Year
Ovia, who spoke on the topic- ‘Promoting Economic growth through Lending & Financial Inclusion’ on Wednesday, in Abuja, during the ‘Going for Growth 2.0’ roundtable put together by the Central Bank of Nigeria, proffered solution on how to further improve financial inclusion in Nigeria.
The businessman, while talking about the activities of Nigerian banks in the largest economy in Africa, disclosed that Nigerian banks had over the years, played a significant role in ensuring the growth of the Nigerian economy.
The banking bigwig stated: “In 2004, before consolidation, all the Nigerian banks put together, their total market capitalization was below N12 billion and all of them put together could not lend one-tenth of what Dangote Cement required. But today, one of the top tier banks is much larger than all the banks’ shareholders’ funds put together in 2004.
“So, that is a testimony that Nigerian banks are solid. We have even started to export our expertise to West and East African countries. Nigerian banks in Ghana are the ones showing the way. They didn’t know about recapitalisation until we thought them,” he said.
The Zenith bank boss also shared his thought on the recent crash of crude oil price following the outbreak of the Coronavirus; a development he tagged ‘Black Monday‘.
While affirming that the Nigerian economy survives on crude oil, he advised the federal government to diversify other sectors of the Nigerian economy so that the country can remain solid in the face of the current challenges facing the world economy.
Ovia, whose speech caused laughter in the hall, seized the occasion to thank the Central Bank Governor for the support given to Nigerian banks and ensuring that the banking industry continues to thrive.
The event had other speakers including the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria Godwin Emefiele; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment of Nigeria, Niyi Adebayo; Chairman, Economic Advisory Council, Doyin Salami; Member, Economic Advisory Council Chukwuma Soludo.
Others are Tony Elumelu, Chairman, Heirs Holdings, Aliko Dangote, CEO Dangote Group, Kunle Elebute, Chairman, KPMG Africa and more.