The 2nd edition of the NSE Bloomberg CEO Roundtable held today, Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at the Stock Exchange House, Marina.
The event themed “Navigating the Changing Business Landscape in Nigeria” brought together capital market participants, business leaders and Chief Executives of major companies across the key sectors of the economy to discuss and proffer solutions to the current economic challenges in Nigeria.
In his opening remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of The Nigerian Stock Exchange, Oscar N. Onyema OON, emphasized the importance and timeliness of the event given the current economic realities. “The economy continues to face strong headwinds resulting from the fall in crude prices, uncertainty around policy direction and the high exchange rate volatility.
These headwinds have necessitated the need for Nigerian businesses to deploy unorthodox strategies to weather the economic storm of the last two years to ensure their survival. The NSE Bloomberg CEO Roundtable presents the platform to discuss these strategies and make appropriate recommendations”.
The CEO Roundtable featured an interactive panel discussion on key topics and had the CEO, Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya; MD/CEO, Nestle Nigeria Plc, Dharnesh Gordhon; Executive Director, Chapel Hill Denham, Ayo Fashina; Economist & Policy Analyst, Dr. Ogho Okiti; and Mark Bohlund, Africa and Middle East Senior Economist, Bloomberg Intelligence, as panel discussants.
To stimulate an upward trend, Mr. Ogunsanya said the Government needs to have a visionary approach to the development of the economy. “Government should digitize the economy, as this would enhance the diversification programme and have rippling positive effects on other sectors of the economy”.
According to Mr. Gordhon, the middle class is disappearing. He urged the Government to tackle the foreign exchange crisis and improve infrastructure. He noted that the problem of inadequate power supply had worsened due to unavailability of gas and this has forced companies to resort to more expensive alternatives.
In his opinion, Mr. Fashina, said Government should sell some its assets to raise money to finance the budget deficit rather than embarking on external borrowing. “Considering the devalued naira, borrowing $1billion from the international capital market would come with many challenges that would continue to affect the economy”.
Economist and policy analyst, Dr. Okiti, said government needs to coordinate development blueprint and identify policy options that will help to drive the growth of the economy. He declared that “money doesn’t grow the economy, policies do.”
Senior Economist, Africa and Middle East, Bloomberg Intelligence, Mark Bohlund, noted that Nigeria will be left behind if it fails to fix the power problem. He also highlighted the importance of strict adherence to the rule of law as this will drive investment inflow into the country.
The maiden edition of the NSE Bloomberg CEO Roundtable took place in 2015, and it focused on two systemically important sectors –Banking and Oil & Gas. Discussions centered around impact of the fall in oil prices on the Nigerian Banking sector, and implications of OPEC’s crude oil output policy on African member nations.