Friday, 10th April 2024.

CreditEconomy News Interview

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Abiola Babatunde- Ojo, FICA,

Managing Director, Prudent Energy & Services Ltd


The Managing Director, Prudent Energy & Services Ltd, Abiola Babatunde- Ojo, FICA, speaks on relevance of credit to economic development, in National Institute of Credit Administration’s interview article 


What is the way forward for Nigeria’s economic development?

For Nigeria’s economic development, it is important to prioritize some key areas. Accountability and transparency in governance alongside effective implementation of policies is essential. Deploying measures to combat corruption, and investment in infrastructure, particularly transportation networks and power supply, is also very key.

There is also the need to invest in people, and when I say invest in people, I mean the development of human capital through education, social welfare, and very good healthcare system, resulting in a healthy workforce.

“I also believe that promoting entrepreneurship is key to our economic development. This will foster an innovative and growth mentality amongst the youths, reducing the reliance on already existing organizations. The government should encourage innovation and support small businesses and SMEs to create an enabling environment for aspiring entrepreneurs”.

Lastly, it is imperative for every citizen to have a sense of ownership and stake in the development of the Country. The government has a role to play but we also have our parts as citizens.


How can credit be used for economic and social transformation?

“Credit provides access to funds, empowering organizations, individuals, and businesses to create more jobs and fostering our economic growth. Initiatives by the government, like the Trader Money project can significantly enhance the socio-economic status of market women and small traders if implemented in a structured manner, thereby contributing to economic transformation”.

Of course, credit can also improve infrastructure development, leading to improved standards of living, and productivity among people, and organizations. Housing affordability through mortgages, a credit scheme elevates not only the living standards of people but also fosters stability in the system by reducing poverty.

In agriculture, credit provides farmers with access to financial resources facilitating agricultural productivity. When credit is provided for farmers, it will improve food security in the nation, which will kind of bring about economic transformation.


What sector of Nigeria’s economy suffers neglect?

I would say the number one sector is education. Our institutions lack essential infrastructure and a shortage of quality teachers, all leading to very poor student outcomes.

As earlier mentioned, there is a pressing need for better roads, transportation networks, good healthcare and constant power supply which have all been suffering from neglect. With power, there are lots of ways the economy can be transformed.

Furthermore, our healthcare facilities suffer from insufficient funding. The japa (exits of youths abroad) syndrome is also affecting us. We have lost so many of our medical personnels in search of greener pastures everywhere aside Nigeria, creating a strain on our economy.

Finally, despite the recent government efforts to boost mechanized agriculture as a viable non-oil income source, I still strongly believe that sector needs more attention. Reviving agriculture will be crucial for not just economic diversification but our sustainable growth.


What’s your advice to the government on how to address challenges associated with these neglected sectors?

First, our government needs to tackle corruption. When the citizenry realizes that transparency is from the top and manifests downwards, it instills trust and becomes clear that there’s justice for all citizens.

Secondly, the escalating security challenge has to be looked into. Recently, there have been a lot of kidnappings, banditry, and terrorism to list a few. Investing in the military to ensure that lives and properties are well protected and fostering a conducive environment has become more important. When the environment is conducive for business entrepreneurs and business owners, it will attract foreign investment and entrepreneurship.

Thirdly, I believe promoting national unity is essential. No tribe, political zone, or citizen should be made to feel inferior. Every Nigerian should feel included and valued without any group being prioritized over others. Summarily, it is my advice to the government to prioritize all neglected sectors.


As a Fellow of the National Institute of Credit Administration (NICA), what advice and support do you have for the Institute and its members?

As a member of any institute, whether it is NICA or any other, I think the first thing is to uphold the ethical standard of that institute; that is very key. Upholding ethical standards means you embrace the principles of that institute, especially in credit management. Recognize the role credit plays in economic growth and support the standard. Members also need to stay updated and knowledgeable on trends. For instance, members should consider registering for some courses organized by the institute for continuous development, relevance, and expertise in credit management and the latest innovative technologies.

“As Fellows of the institute, we should also work together to develop others. You are experts in your profession, your knowledge should be shared with junior colleagues and other credit professionals, contributing to the institute and your colleagues. We should use our positions to advocate for credit policies”.


What sector of Nigeria’s economy do you want foreign investors and business partners to come in?

Given my background in the oil and gas industry, I am particularly interested in the expansion of renewable energy. Opportunities abound in this sector which will help the country to address the power challenges currently faced. We have an abundance of solar and other resources, presenting an opportunity for investors to leverage the country’s recurring power challenges through renewable energy projects.

I believe tourism and hospitality is a great entry point for investors. Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and natural attractions provide ample investment opportunities in tourism. Despite the sector’s relative success, there are still untapped potentials, especially in promoting Nigerian talent internationally and enhancing music production and distribution. The same can be done in the agricultural sector to drive economic growth and food security.

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