Emma Okonji
Risk experts have urged the public and private sector institutions to come together to steer the country away from the declining economic fortunes in 2017.

The experts were of the view that costs can be cut down and local contractors encouraged by reviewing foreign contracts and ensure that contracts are outsourced to local consultants to boost the Nigerian economy.

This was the position of panellists at the 66th edition of the Digital Jewels’ Information Value Chain Forum held in Lagos recently. The session focused on “Risk Outlook 2017” and had on the panel, the Chief Risk and Compliance Officer at eTranzact, Oluwafemi Aminu; Head of Assurance at Interswitch, Omowale Micaiah; Chief Risk Officer of Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, Osioke Ojior; and the General Manager, Business Risk Management, MTN Nigeria, Cyril Ilok.
The discussion was moderated by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Digital Jewels Limited, Adedoyin Odunfa.

Ojior said that risk communication ought to be made easily understood. According to him, Nigeria must upgrade its skill-base, adding given where we are in our development journey, we need the skills to develop. Whether it is important in the planning, or in the execution of those plans, skills are really very important. For those of us operating in Nigeria, we need to look beyond Nigeria and across the borders. We need to look at what the opportunities in the continent offer and how far we can key into them.”

Ilok, however, declared that Nigeria would thrive economically by looking inwards and having a forward thinking economic team. He said the country’s over-reliance on oil had prevented it from diversifying its economy, adding that instability in government policies and decision making process had discouraged big private investors from the country.

“Our lack of planning brought us thus far. Some things could have been foreseen, some things could have been dealt with better but we just failed to plan,” Ilok said.
For Micaiah, indecision is the basic problem of the present administration. According to him, “This indecision is a risk in itself and if there is anything the government wants to do, it is that it should be apt with policy planning and execution.”

On his part, Aminu called for an aggressive drive towards indigenous contents. He said that government and private institutions should use what he described as “Black/Nigeria” consultants to execute their projects. He also stressed the need to go back to the basics and take a business, not technology-led approach to solving problems.

Odunfa said the risk landscape was expanding at an exponential rate and counseled that there should be more enlightenment campaign about the drive towards economic diversification.

He said looking onwards also implied a readiness to do the hard work, to think, to plan and to roll up our sleeves. She stressed that there were still several opportunities despite the recession.
Accessing them, however, would require a new way of thinking and engaging, explaining that those opportunities could be within existing value chained require product, or regional diversification.

The forum is a quarterly gathering of professionals in ICT and other sectors. It provides a platform for knowledge sharing, information exchange and networking for executives as they climb the corporate ladder. This interactive session helps executives to keep abreast of pertinent trends on increasingly important issues which can affect their individual and corporate competitiveness.