By Amechi Ogbonna
Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, at the weekend urged the Federal Government and the Nigerian private sector to take advantage of rising demand for oil and gas products occasioned by ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis to invest more in the oil and gas sector.
Adeduntan, a recipient of “The Sun Banking Icon of the Decade Award” who spoke of the sidelines of the award event in Lagos said such investment would help the world fill the vacuum being created by some Western nations’ sanction Russian crude and gas supplies.
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Asked to advise on what Nigeria can do to capitalise on Western nations oil and gas embargo on Russia, the First Bank boss said, “I think Nigeria should focus on more investments in the oil and gas sector so we can fill the vacuum that is being created by the fact that many Western nations are no longer buying crude or gas from Russia and I am aware that the government is doing something about that. I have seen production levels gradually inching up again and I have also seen increased focus on the oil and gas sector and so I think we are on the right track”
Commenting on some of the recent developments on the Nigerian banking space, the FirstBank boss admitted that the global economy has been under significant stress, noting that the role of bankers as financiers of the economy is to continue to lend its support to ensure it does not suffer huge impact of the stress.
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He said, “Looking at pre-COVID, post-COVID and even the Russian-Ukraine war, Nigerian banks are growing their balance sheets to support the economy to help minimise the impact of these aforementioned factors in the economy. One of the things that stands First Bank out is that we do not base our emphasis on profitability but we place a great significance on the growth of the economy because it is when the economy grows, that we as banks have an opportunity to thrive”.
He commended the Sun management for the honour done him, with the recognition as “Banking Icon of the Decade” adding that First Bank was happy to know that people recognise the good work it is doing as an institution.
’’For me, I feel very proud and I feel that for the Sun Newspapers to observe what we are doing as a bank and paid attention to details and even when I read the profile you put together, it was clear the company did its homework. It gladdens our hearts to know that people recognise the good work we are doing as an institution. I have always been of the view that the only way our country can move forward is for everyone to the right thing, and collectively, everything will move just fine and so I feel very proud because it is an award I truly cherish. I want to thank The Sun management for this honour and I dedicate it to my family and the management of First Bank. It is very encouraging and motivation for me to do more.”
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