The Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe has advised Nigerians to patronise locally made goods and services so as to grow the economy.
Wigwe said this while speaking at the seventh German-Nigerian Business Forum that took place in Lagos yesterday.
The Access Bank CEO, who featured on a panel session, pointed out that high appetite for foreign made goods in the country leads to imported inflation.
Responding to a question on the high level of interest rate in the country, Wigwe stated that once some structural problems in the country are addressed, the amount of interest rates being charged by banks would reduce
“To resolve the high interest rate issue, there are several things which need to be done. The first is that we need to resolve some of the inherent cost issues. For instance, power.
“We also need to look at the issue of infrastructure. Resolving power alone can bring down our cost of production by as much as 40 per cent. So, once some of those variables are resolved in the economy, interest rate will come down.
“We also need to focus inwards. There is no need for us to continue to import everything because when you do that, you have imported inflation.
“So, if we basically consume what is produced in Nigeria, what you see is that all of these variables would start coming down,” he said.
Earlier, Wigwe said Access Bank created a German Desk as part of its strategy to support SMEs.
According to him, one of the greatest problems SMEs in the country face is access to finance.
“But what the German desk sets to do is to put Nigerian businessmen who seek to do business in Germany or buy German products, in touch with their German counterparts.
“Secondly, it puts German businessmen in touch with the appropriate Nigerian businessmen who intend to do business in Germany. The third thing it does is that it provides financing at affordable rates to both parties to continue to do their business,” he added.
He urged his audience who were mostly foreigners to take advantage of the numerous investment opportunities in Nigeria.
“You cannot talk about doing business in Africa without talking about Nigeria. Nigeria is a country of 198 million people.
“This is a big market and a potential market for any institution that wants to come into Africa. What we have done has basically strengthened the trade relationship between Nigerian and German businesses,” he added.