CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Thursday expressed dismay over the seeming pessimism by some Nigerians over the future economic prospects of the country.
Director, Communications, CBN, Mr. Ugochukwu Okoroafor, told THISDAY in an interview conducted over the telephone, that there was the need to work together in other to actualise the goal of making the country one of the top 20 economies in the world by 2020.
Okoroafor was reacting to the recent report by the United States National Intelligence Council (NIC), which indicated that Nigeria could join a few other countries including China that would be instrumental in shaping the world’s economy by the year 2030.
He said: "I think Nigerians don't take themselves as serious as the rest of the work sees us. We all need to come together and see what we have here and work. The world sees us as a major power; I think that we don't fully appreciate the power that we have and what is taking place in the rest of the world and how Nigeria is in position to take full advantage of this; others seem to see it but we don't."
He said that all that was required to achieve the feat was to diversify the economy and fix infrastructure even as the apex bank continued to strengthen the financial system strategy 2020 (FSS2020).
According to him: "Nigeria should see what we have and everybody should come out and let's get serious in whatever we are doing to ensure we really create that economy."
He said as part of moves to prepare the country for future prospects, the CBN had been cleaning up the banking sector, an effort, which he said had caused banks and foreign investments to come into the country.
He said: "What we need to do is correct a few things; if we can get our electricity right, if we can address a bit of our security issues...This is a country with 167 million people-which would project itself and beyond that, we have put down a few things that would make us move forward.
"We have delivered on our mandate and we would continue to deliver on our mandate: our job is to control inflation and keep it stable: we have built up our foreign reserves and cleaned up the banking sector; we have started attracting foreign investment; we have pushed through reforms in the power sector, agriculture and you can see that agriculture is the next big thing coming."
Continuing, he said: "With all these, Nigeria is ready to move. Looking at what we've done in payment. We have cleaned up the payment system as well as internationalised it. The FSS2020 is aimed at harmonising what everybody is doing so as to prepare Nigeria as an economy that would be one of the world's 20 largest, come year 2020.
So the CBN has always been ready for this."