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Nigeria can export experts to earn forex, says Ibukun Awosika

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Ibukun Awosika, the chairman of First Bank of Nigeria, says Nigeria can build a policy around migration, and export experts to get adequate remittances in foreign exchange. 

Speaking at The Platform, held on Wednesday at Covenant Christian Centre in Iganmu, Lagos, the serial-entrepreneur said Nigeria’s population can be an asset or liability, depending on the path the nation chooses.

“How can we turn our population into an asset? We have bright minds, which is why Nigerians proffer solutions in other environments where they are nurtured,” she said.

“All we need to do is decide our population is going to be an asset. And from now, based on the goals we have identified for ourselves, we are deliberate about investing in nurturing that Youthful population to deploy what is required for that vision to be actualised.

“Nigerians are migrating, good! We are many, as we say, there are many nations that need people; so we can turn migration into a policy, we can turn our population into income-earning assets.”

She said we can train young Nigerians to suit the needs of the world and make unimaginable income from the export.

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

“We can have government-to-government negotiations, or private sector led to work, repatriating income to several parts of Nigeria. Our people can be a source of foreign exchange for us as a nation.

“There are countries who work on models that are not different from that. When you have a lot of people and you do not have the abilities, people are not accidentally getting up to go to Canada, to go to anywhere, no!

“Let’s say our people are sought after; but to make them sought after for other nations, what must they know? What must they have? What must they do?

“How do we prepare processes that allow them to be trained? I know an African nation that is looking for 6,000 teachers.

“Nothing stops someone in that sector from building programmes or investing in finding 6,000 unemployed graduates, preparing them with teaching methodology.

“Teaching them about living in that country, telling them about how to be great ambassadors of Nigeria, wherever they go, and going to make a deal with that nation, to say we can provide you with these teachers on contract; Five year, 10 years, three years, they move.

“If you go to Dubai, most of the hotels have Kenya in the industry. Why? They were deliberate about setting up hospitality schools, to train people to be exported into countries that need manpower for hospitality.

“We know how to greet people, we know how to be hospitable, we know how to embrace people, we have the natural culture to be right in hospitality, if our people are trained as assets for that industry.

“Our population can be a liability if we do not have specific deliberate agenda for developing them.”

The latest UNFPA report estimates that Nigeria now has a population of 201 million people.

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Awosika Replaces Belo-Olusoga as Access Bank Chairman

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Mrs Ajoritsedere Awosika has been announced as the new Chairman of Access Bank Plc. She will replace the present occupier of the position, Mrs Mosun Belo-Olusoga, who is expected to retire in January 2020.

A statement issued by the lender explained that Mrs Belo-Olusoga will retire from the post on January 8, 2020 on completion of her maximum 12-year term limit allowed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Code of Corporate Governance for Banks and Discount Houses.

In the statement, Access Bank said Mrs Belo-Olusoga, who became the Chairman of the board in July 2015, confirmed that she has no disagreement with the board and there are no issues relating to her retirement that need to be brought to the attention of the shareholders of the company or the regulatory authorities.

‘The board of directors of Access Bank Plc is pleased to announce that its Chairman, Mrs Mosun Belo-Olusoga, will be retiring in January 2020.

“This follows her completion of the maximum 12-year term limit allowed by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Code of Corporate Governance for Banks and Discount Houses. Mrs Belo-Olusoga became the Chairman of the Board in July 2015.

“Mrs Belo-Olusoga has confirmed that she has no disagreement with the Board and there are no issues relating to her retirement that need to be brought to the attention of the shareholders of the Company or the regulatory authorities,” a part of the notice read.

It also thanked Mrs Belo-Olusoga for her contributions to the bank’s transformational growth, wishing her successor, Mrs Awosika, success in her new appointment.

The lender said the appointment of Mrs Awosika as its new Chairman was in line with its robust leadership succession plan so as to lead the company to its the next phase of transformation into becoming Africa’s Gateway to the World.

Mrs Awosika joined the board in April 2013 as an Independent Non-Executive Director and has been the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board Credit and Finance Committee and the Board Audit Committee respectively in addition to membership of other Board Committees.

She is an accomplished administrator with over three decades experience in public sector governance. She was at various times, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministries of Internal Affairs, Science & Technology and Power.

Mrs Awosika is a fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacy. She holds a Doctorate degree in Pharmaceutical Technology from the University of Bradford, United Kingdom.

She is the Chairman of Chams Plc and Josephine Consulting Limited and a Non-Executive Director of Capital Express Assurance Ltd.

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Seplat Picks CFO Brown to Replace Avuru as CEO

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The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Mr Roger Brown, will from August 1, 2020, be the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the energy firm.

A statement from the company said Mr Brown will take charge of day-to-day activities of Seplat upon the retirement of the present CEO, Mr Austin Avuru, who steps down on July 31, 2020,

For a decade, Mr Avuru piloted affairs of the company, making it a strong organisation, with the deployment of agile systems, processes and stakeholder relationships that allowed the firm to grow rapidly from  a gross production of 22,700 boepd as at December 2010 to peaks of 111,368 boepd gross production as at December 2018 through major drilling campaigns and major new Oil and Gas plants development.

The acquisition of 40 percent of OML 53, post company’s IPO of 2014, created an opportunity in partnership with NNPC, to spawn a mid-stream subsidiary, ANOH Gas Processing Company Ltd currently progressing what will ultimately be a 300MMscf/d of Gas, 22,500bdp of condensate and 1,200boepd of LPG processing company.

Seplat said it could not have achieved all these without Mr Avuru’s leadership skills, personal dedication and hard work, at the head of the company.

“The board of Seplat is grateful to Mr Avuru for these accomplishments and is looking forward to his continued service at the board level,” the statement said.

The energy company said looking forward, it plans to position itself for a next phase growth ambition which would see the expansion of its footprint in terms of energy business activities, a plan to pursue offshore assets as well as opportunity driven entry into different geographies.

The company said it believes that such a corporate transition would require a different kind of organisational structure, people skills set and mentality to compete well in the expanded space, noting that in view of this, it would be reviewing its current organisational and systems structure.

It said to lead the aspiration, it had to settle for Mr Brown to succeed Mr Avuru as CEO so as to lead the restructuring during the transition period between now and final exit date of the present leader.

Mr Brown joined Seplat in 2013 as the CFO and played a key role in the successful dual listing of the company in 2014. Since he joined the firm, he has played significant roles in various asset acquisitions by the company.

Prior to joining Seplat, Mr Brown was an advisor to the company since 2010 while he was the Managing Director and head of EMEA Oil and Gas at Standard Bank Group.

During his time at the bank, he was instrumental in providing advice and deploying capital across the African continent in the oil/gas, power/infrastructure and the renewable energy sectors.

“Mr Brown brings to the CEO role, a deep knowledge of the company in his 6 years as the CFO and a member of the board. He has strong financial, commercial and M&A experience as well as proven people skills which will be an asset as the company embarks on the next phase of its growth plan,” the statement stated.

“While we thank Mr Avuru for a meritorious service, we welcome Mr Brown and wish him every success in his upcoming new role,” the company concluded.

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El-Rufai backs border closure, says ‘some countries closed their borders for centuries, decades’

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Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has backed Federal Government’s closure of land borders.

According to him, it is unfair for smaller countries to be sabotaging a big country like Nigeria.

El-Rufai who was a special guest at the graduation of Senior Course Three of the Nigeria Customs Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada, Abuja on Friday said the step taken was commendable.

He explained that Nigeria like any other country like to trade with other countries but added that there must be fairness.

The governor noted that closure of the borders should be sustained until there were established deals that covered every country.

“The partial closure of borders is highly commendable. Nigeria is the largest country in West Africa and the continent and it is clear that our neighbours are using our openness and brotherhood to trade, to exploit us.

“I fully support and subscribe to the closure of borders and we should sustain it for as long as possible.

“We need to do this for our country to have a fair deal and for our manufacturers to be protected.

“All those talking about free trade or preaching about it today closed their borders for centuries and decades ago.

“Nigeria must grow its own internal capacity, we will not do so if we allow our neighbours to use the porosity of our borders to sabotage our economy,’’ he explained.

El-Rufai, however, commended the physical development at the Customs Command College in Gwagwalada.

He lauded the effort of the current Customs boss for his reform agenda.

“I am impressed with what I have seen on ground in terms of physical development as well as the content”.

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