The Managing Directors of Heritage Bank Limited and Nigerian Export-Import Bank  (NEXIM)  Limited have all confirmed their attendance at the forthcoming Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) Annual workshop holding in Lagos.

The event, slated for Saturday September 21 at Golden Tulip Hotel, FESTAC Town Lagos, will have the  Managing Director, NEXIM, Abubakar Bello deliver the keynote speech while Managing Director/CEO Heritage Bank Limited, Ifie Sekibo will be the guest speaker. They will be speaking on the theme: “Unlocking Opportunities in Nigeria’s Non-Oil Sector”.

A panel discussion will feature Director Corporate Communications at the Central Bank of Nigeria, Isaac Okoroafor;  Head of Tax and Corporate Advisory Services, PwC Nigeria, Taiwo Oyedele and Senior Lecturer at Lagos Business School, Adi Bongo.

In a statement, FICAN said unlocking the non-oil sector requires collaborative efforts between the government and private sector  adding that opportunities in the sector have to be harnessed for effective economic growth.

“The non-oil sector is critical to Nigeria’s sustainable economic growth as it is the largest source of employment to the country’s huge young population. Before the discovery of crude oil in Nigeria in 1956, the non-oil sector, especially the agricultural sector, was the mainstay of the economy. The agricultural sector alone provided 85 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings in the 60s”.

“The oil sector now provides over 95 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. The challenge is that frequent fluctuation in oil prices has made the Nigerian economy often susceptible to shocks as the economy suffers whenever prices are down. The challenge is further worsened as the world is beginning to look at life after oil in a bid to tackle climate change. It is a pointer that crude oil would become less relevant and attract fewer earnings in years to come. Successive governments have not done enough to tap into other potential non-oil sector sectors,” the statement said.

It said that government’s long term plan is seen in its launching of the  Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) for 2017–2020 that contains critical reforms for diversifying the economy away from oil and set it on a path of sustained and inclusive growth over the medium- to long-term.

Among other things, the workshop will bring together experts from global multilateral financial institutions, public and private sector players, to highlight and examine the various options available in getting the economy fully diversified away from reliance on crude oil.

The conference will be attended by journalists covering money market, capital market and the insurance industry, from the print and electronic media.
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