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Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), has stated that Nigeria can indeed earn a lot of foreign exchange (FOREX) from the movement of its citizens to other countries.

Awosika said this on Wednesday at the 2019 edition of The Platform, a forum for national discourse organised by the Covenant Christian Centre, Lagos.

She said the country could turn its huge population into an asset by investing in the people and turning them into problem solvers.

“Our easily and obviously celebrated asset is our population. We are so many. By 2050, we are going to be the third largest country in the world, after China and India. We are probably going to be around 400 million people.

“It’s good for numbers, but it’s not the population that is the real asset; it is how we handle that population and turn it into a real asset.

“When people solve problems in Nigeria, they will earn income from every part of the world for Nigeria. We have bright minds, which is why Nigerians proffer solutions in other environments where they are nurtured.

“All we have to do is decide that our population is going to be an asset. Nigerians are migrating. We are many. There are many nations that need people, so we can turn migration to a policy. We can turn our population into income-earning asset.

“We can be deliberate about identifying the parts of the world that need specific skills and because we have a lot of young minds, we can retrain and prepare them for those skills.”

Recall that there was controversy following a recent statement by the minister for Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, that migrating Nigerian doctors were earning FOREX for the country.

Other speakers at the event included the Managing Partner, Sahel Consulting, Mrs Ndidi Nwuneli, who canvassed the development of the agricultural sector; Sarah Lacy, an American journalist and author, who spoke on harnessing technology for economic growth.

Also, Dr Anil Gupta, an expert in Strategy, Globalisation and Emerging Markets, urged entrepreneurs to embrace innovation for economic growth while Olusegun Adeniyi, a former aide to the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, identified oil as the main obstacle to Nigeria’s economic growth.

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