By Ken Asinobi
The Executive Director of the British Nigeria Business Network (BNBN), Prince (Dr) Ubani Ifeanyi has called on the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Olayemi Cardoso, to harness the potential of foreign and local development finance windows as a catalyst for bolstering the nation’s economy.
Dr. Ubani who addressed journalists in Abuja on Monday, said the strategic utilization of these financial instruments would accelerate economic growth and cushion the suffering of Nigerians as they grapple with the government’s removal of fuel subsidy, deregulation, inflation, unification of forex, high cost of energy and the dwindling high exchange rate.
The management expert, renowned for his expertise in financial strategies and economic development, emphasized the critical role that targeted development finance could play in empowering key sectors of Nigeria’s economy.
Dr. Ubani who doubles as County Representative of the British African Business Alliance UK (BABA) under the leadership of Mr. David Smith, highlighted sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), asserting that strategic investment in these areas could spark a transformative wave of growth.
He urged the new CBN governor to mobilize local development finance by establishing specialized development banks, create or strengthen development finance institutions that provide targeted financing to the key sectors listed above, adding that these banks could offer affordable loans, technical assistance, and capacity-building programs.
Additionally, Dr. Ubani advised the nation’s apex bank to support microfinance institutions (MFIs) with funds, to enable them provide financial services to low-income individuals and small businesses, as this could facilitate financial inclusion and improve access to credit.
He urged the CBN to encourage crowd-funding and peer-to-peer lending by promoting platforms that enable individuals and businesses to raise funds from the general public and fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.
Drawing on successful models from other countries, the expert proposed a comprehensive strategy that involves tailored financial interventions, capacity building, and policy support to optimize the potential impact of development finance initiatives.
His words, “The apex bank should access international development finance by
collaborating with multilateral development banks (MDBs). This will strengthen partnerships with organizations like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), African Development Bank (AfDB), and regional development banks.
“They should seek funding, technical expertise, and policy advice for priority projects, reforms, and capacity building”.
“The Central Bank’s development finance windows offer a unique opportunity to channel resources effectively and efficiently into sectors that can drive sustainable economic progress,” the expert stated.
“By leveraging these tools strategically, the CBN can stimulate innovation, create employment, and fortify the economic foundation of our nation.”
Dr. Ubani Ifeanyi said the CBN would attract foreign direct investment (FDI), develop an investor-friendly environment by streamlining regulations, improving business climate indicators, and offering incentives for FDI.
“They should engage international development finance institutions and bilateral partners to facilitate investments in sectors with high growth potential, participate in international development programs, engaging with initiatives like the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, trade agreements, and climate finance mechanisms, access funding, technical assistance, and knowledge-sharing opportunities to advance economic and sustainable development goals.
Dr. Ubani also recommended several measures including strengthening macroeconomic stability by adopting effective monetary policy, implementing measures to manage inflation, stabilize the exchange rate, and maintain price stability, as according to him, this could involve adjusting interest rates, managing liquidity, and implementing foreign exchange policies based on careful analysis.