…Seeks partnership with banks for speedy economic turnaround
Nigeria’s Vice President, Kashim Shettima, on Tuesday, said President Bola Tinubu’s economic decisions in the past 100 days in office are yielding positive results.
Shettima made the assertion to a cross-section of stakeholders in the banking and finance sector at the opening of the 16th Annual Banking and Finance Conference themed, ‘Nigeria’s Economic Growth and Empowerment: The Role of The Financial Services Industry’.
He noted that the aftermath of the petrol subsidy removal and the unification of the exchange rate availed state and federal governments substantial allocations.
“I must announce with pride that our decisions are already yielding tangible results, with both state and federal governments now enjoying more substantial allocations,”
The Vice President, who was the special guest of honour at the conference held in Abuja, spoke on the topic, ‘Our Priorities in a Post-Pandemic World’.
Shettima’s remarks came barely three weeks after the National Economic Council, which he chairs, approved N5bn for states and the Federal Capital Territory to procure food items for distribution to the poor in their respective domains.
While noting that the funds promised a direct and positive impact on the lives of Nigerians, Shettima said without the serially unaccounted fuel subsidies, Nigeria can now redirect her savings towards more deserving causes.
“We envision a future where no leader can resort to the tired excuse of ‘scarcity of funds’ to evade completion of projects or delayed salary payments.
“Nigeria is crafting a story where the welfare of our people takes precedence, and financial accountability reigns supreme,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Vice President sought a stronger partnership with experts in the Banking and Finance industry, saying that such synergy could turn the economy around in record time.
He said “We must now do what pessimists may regard as impossible; turning the economy around in record time. We seek your partnership in getting this done. We cannot take your support for granted.”
Shettima noted that the journey towards economic rejuvenation is not one the Tinubu administration can undertake in isolation, adding,”It is a call to forge robust partnerships with strategic nations and multilateral organisations, for in unity, Nigeria can reposition itself as a formidable, globally competitive partner.”
The Vice President harped on the role of banking and finance in rejuvenating the economy and called on stakeholders to join in serving the nation.
“We have promised to reposition consumer finance, and that can’t be done without you. We have promised to incentivise and finance value-addition to our agricultural and other products, and you are our ally in this.
“We need you because Nigeria teeters on the edge of a precarious balance of payments as we import more than we export.
“The future is already here, and this industry is a springboard for the success of our reforms and programmes. Whether in incorporating blockchain technology or expanding financial inclusion to deliver dividends of democracy to banking and unbanked citizens, Nigeria is here to occupy the high table in a fast-changing world.”
Speaking on the ‘Eight-Point Agenda’ of the Tinubu Administration, the Vice President said the government is prioritising food security and poverty eradication.
He said, “We are prioritising economic growth and job creation. We are prioritising access to capital and improving security.
“We are prioritising improving the playing field on which people and particularly companies like yours operate.
“We are also prioritising the rule of law and the fight against corruption. Each agenda cannot be fully implemented without your cooperation.”
Earlier in his remarks, the President of the Chattered Institute of Bankers, Mr. Ken Opara, praised the reform initiatives of President Bola Tinubu, noting “the reforms such as subsidy removal, unifying the foreign exchange regime, investing in infrastructure, promoting agriculture, supporting SMEs and tax reforms, among others, if well implemented will unlock the economic potentials of the country.”
Present at the event were the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Sen. Abubakar Bagudu; Chairman, Senate Committee on Capital Market, Sen. Osita Izunaso; Ag. Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Folashodun Shonubi, and World Bank Representative in Nigeria, Mr. Shubam Chaudhuri, among others.