Without robust financial services system, Nigeria may never achieve full potential – Ogunlesi

For Nigeria to attain its full potential, Africa’s largest economy would need to build its financial services system to a level that is not only robust but strong, Adebayo Ogunlesi, a lawyer, chairman and managing partner at Global Infrastructure Partners -a private equity firm has said.

Pointing at the country’s foreign exchange challenges and the underdeveloped insurance industry, Ogunlesi stressed the need for Nigeria to strengthen its financial services system at a virtual event on Thursday by EnterpriseNGR.

“I think Nigeria would never achieve its full potential unless it has a very strong and robust financial services system. The insurance services system is not even as strong as it should be,” Ogunlesi said at the event titled ‘Voices of Enterprise.

While acknowledging the fact that Nigeria is blessed with a strong banking system pointing at the success rate at which the banks in the country are expanding to other African countries, the legal partitioner said “it takes more than banking system to have a strong financial services system.”

On what Nigeria must do to be like London in the eyes of Europe, Ogunlesi said “Nigeria has to make it very clear to the world that we are open for business.”

The private equity chairperson also challenged EnterpriseNGR to be an advocate to the government and a powerful voice that would provide advice and sometimes lobby to make sure that Nigeria moves in the right direction.

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Representing the Nigerian Government at the private-led virtual event was Vice president Yemi Osinbajo. He applauded the organizers and participants of the event, adding that the private sector was taking a lead role in places reserved for the public sector.

“It’s a game-changer when the informed Nigerian professional and business community speak with one voice to issues of domestic or international business policy,” the vice president said.

Reiterating the government’s commitment to the private sector, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed said the government will continue to partner with the private sector and will further create an enabling environment where business can continue to prosper. She stated also that innovation was highly encouraged.

“Positive outcomes of some government efforts are reflected in the performance of the key parts of the non-oil sector in the most recently released GDP report and also the rise in the contribution of the non-oil sector revenue to total government revenue,” she said.

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