Founder of Diamond Bank and Chairman of MTN Nigeria, Pascal Dozie, in this CNBC Africa exclusive with Wole Famurewa, asserted that the economic recession in Nigeria was long in coming, adding that a close observation of the pattern of economic development shows that a crunch was on its way.
He said what is being experienced wasn’t unexpected, adding that Nigeria’s case is one of lost opportunities.
“I think it is what some might call taking a lot for granted, because we positioned ourselves wrongly. We positioned ourselves as an oil economy, but Nigeria has never been an oil economy. The oil has been a distraction to the economic development of the country. Nigeria is an agricultural economy,” he said.
On the factors that led to the recession
We depended on a sector we were really not in control of. We were not in charge of the pricing, or the marketing. We are receivers. We more or less drill the oil, export it, and use the resources to buy the petroleum products. So it was really just like that, money in money out.
We were just like the ostrich, you dig your head in the sand, but the whole body is uncovered. We thought we were rich.
On the difficulties of securing foreign investors
People are not happy that in a country like Nigeria there are multiple exchange rates. That alone makes foreign investors wary because they can’t plan. So what exchange rate are you coming in at, and what exchange rate are you coming out with.
On the Oil industry:
The oil sector has packed up.
On Diamond Bank’s promotion of SME’s:
The government is not doing much there so we believe that the private sector should step up.