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Business Economist, Awwal Garba Philanthropy gesures

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Economic and corporate financial genius, Awwal Garba is set to launch a new charity soon as part of his philanthropy gestures to the less privileged in the society. The British trained economist is one of the biggest exports of Nigeria to the outside world.

Awwal Garba A. D. attended the Bayero University Kano, Nigeria and the City University, London, UK, from which institutions he meritoriously obtained his first and second university degrees. He is a Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Business Management UK. Since gaining his Masters in Business Economics from Britain, he has in practice majored in the oil and gas sector of the global business environment, with particular in Nigeria.

He has, without any doubt carved a sizable niche for himself and all the organizations he represents within this very important global sector, oil and gas and particularly for Nigeria, which rely heavily on oil related revenues for its survival and development as a nation. He has developed a proclivity for discovering the untapped resources within the sector and has successfully over the years tapped from those to the benefit of his chain of business interests, nationally and globally.

Awwal is a rare kind of Entrepreneur with peculiar kind of business instincts which have enabled him to discern uncommon opportunities that are not often apparent in orthodox feasibility studies. This rare disposition has enabled him to excel in countless ventures and investments, especially within the sector under consideration. His major areas of focus cuts across sectors like, finance, management consulting, marine, oil and gas exploration and production (OEP), oil refinery and real estate development amongst others. He is a consummate professional with strong interpersonal and effective communication skills, reasonable level of integrity, tenacity and strength of character.

Awwal Garba, in his commitment towards achieving efficiency of organizational goals and objectives, has been courted and is enjoying the confidence of plethora of business organizations, especially within the oil and gas sector. He seats comfortably on the management position of numerous companies. These include: Magma Petroleum Investment Limited; Magma Exploration Production Limited; Magma Agro-Allied Limited; Magma Logistics Limited; Magma Gas and Power Spectrum Limited; Magma Pipe and Coating Limited. Others include: Vaja Group of Companies Nigeria Limited; Kannous Projects Limited; Britannica HDD Refinery Limited and its Branch of Nigeria Limited. Also, he sits on the board of several companies as Director. This include: Augusta Energy Nigeria Limited; Blue Strip Consult Limited; Anglo-Africa Energy Limited; Aquashield Marine Global Limited; Afri Allied Services Limited; Rhone Petroleum Limited; and H. Oil Limited.

Awwal is vastly traveled and has in the course of his quest for excellence availed himself of several national, regional and global Professional, Executive Management Training Programmes on Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Oil and Gas Economic Management, etc.

Awwal is a great Philanthropist and a man in tune with his people. Deservedly, he is honoured with the prestigious traditional titles of Galadima Talban, and Talban Dan Hausa Daura. He is happily married and blessed with children.

One of the interesting things about Galadiman Talban is his genuine concern about the development and growth of his fatherland, Nigeria. He has demonstrated this in so many ways, and at any given opportunity. He is a firm believer that though many Nigerians are qualified, and sometimes, more qualified than many of the Expatriates that come to do business in the nation’s most valuable and possibly the most lucrative oil and gas sector, the successive leadership of the country have always preferred to patronize foreign corporations and organizations against their own equally qualified and versatile players within the sector.

According to Awwal, Nigeria and its people would benefit more when they are given the desired opportunity to operate in the important sectors of the nation. For instance, while Nigeria has oil as its mainstay of revenue and resources for existence and development, other countries like United States of America may have nuclear power, science and technological structures and resources as their mainstay. Awwal argues how often do the developed countries of the world allow foreigners to come into their countries, and grant them unhindered access to understand, and actively participate in those areas? That is very rare, or even impossible. In the same vein, Awwal, who isa British trained Business Economist, and who has had the privilege of traveling around the world, has come to appreciate that most progressive nations protect the interests of their citizens and their expertise first.

According to him, although it is a known fact that some foreign experts on the oil and gas sector in Nigeria may be better than some of the indigenous players, the truth still remains that in other climes, the leadership of the country ensure that its citizens and experts are placed in a position where they can easily measure up with the expatriates. This situation is not meant to last forever, rather they leaders of most nation would find a way of empowering its citizens until they are able to compete favourably with their foreign counterparts. For instance, United States of America would not say because China is ahead of the US in any particular area of interest, that the Chinese companies should come and become leaders in any such sector in the US. No. Rather, the US government would keep encouraging their own, until they would become as good or even better their major competitors.
He is a firm believer that Nigerian leadership, especially those who are saddled with the management of the oil and gas sector, should, as matter of deliberate and effective national policy ensure that Nigerians and Nigerian companies are evenly involved in the management, operation and development of the oil and gas sectors of the nation’s economy.

Still reflecting on current happenings around the world, the United States of America’s leadership, has in the last two years maintained a policy of ‘America First’, and rightly so. Even though their President insists that America First does not mean ‘America Alone’ the truth is simple. He wants to protect the interests of Americans, American Companies and Institutions first, before looking outside the world, and many Americans love their president’s disposition. Also, the British last year left the European Union for good. In a nationwide Referendum, the British voted to exit EU. It is not because they hate their hitherto age long Allies, no, but there is growing need for people to reassess the benefits of major world preoccupations to see how it affects their people.

Mr. Garba is of the conviction that when expatriates and foreign companies come to Nigeria and make huge profits, they simply send the profits back to their country, many times without paying the right taxes, but in sharp contrasts, when indigenous companies have the privilege of executing multimillion dollar contracts and possibly make huge profits, they naturally give it back to the Nigerian society. They pay correct taxes, invest in their country and as a result give employment to teeming Nigerian youths, and by extension contributing more to the development of the society in general. It is simple, because for the foreign companies, it is all about the gain and profit to their companies, but for the indigenous companies, it is for the gain and for the love of the country, Nigeria. Foreigners would never come to love or show love to the country. They simply come to make profit, and then go to their own country to show love to their people.

There are indeed so many competent and expert Nigerian companies in virtually all the critical sectors of Nigeria across sectors like construction, oil and gas, telecommunication, management, marine and military hardware procurement, agriculture and allied products and equipment, etc. These indigenous companies rely heavily on Nigerians for most levels of involvements in their operations. They understand the people and the operational environment better, and are likely to contribute more committedly towards the overall development of the society besides their particular area of interest.

One of such companies is Britanica Horizontal Directional Drilling Limited, an indigenous oil and gas company with particular interest on drilling, exploration, pipe construction and laying, oil pipeline maintenance services. The company is a true national and global player within the oil and gas sector. Ranging from exploration, drilling, construction of oil and gas pipes and other related materials, and equipment needed within the oil and gas sector, including training Nigerians in various fields of the sector. The company has several collaborative agreements, memorandum of understanding and strategic partnership agreements with many nationally and globally acclaimed expert organizations, which are very active and current within the global oil and gas environment. It is equally proficient in the maintenance of the various oil and gas machines, equipments and pipe. Its experience in the management, maintenance and security of the various oil and gas equipment has given the company an age over most competitors in the sector.

In its almost ten years of operation across the oil and gas sector, Britanica Horizontal Directional Drilling Limited, has made it a duty to empower smaller Nigerian oil and gas players, with the requisite skills from the beginning to finish in any given field. It is on record that at the end of every project which the company has executed, many Nigerians, especially the youths within the locality would not only benefit from the money paid for their labour, but they would always be taken into confidence in the nitty-gritty of the oil and gas sector, which most non-indigenous companies always try to keep them in the dark. Infact, to the surprise of most Community Leaders of where the company has operated, many of the youths are trained on the operation of most of the oil and gas equipment. As a result, the company has never recorded any incidence of disturbance or disruption of its operation, because of the understanding and respect of the management towards the community, including the Traditional and Opinion Leaders within the community in question. Also, for any contracts or services rendered in any part Nigeria, the company always insists on giving the opportunities to the indigenes, within the skill and unskilled levels of its operations. Besides, the company always use every of such opportunity to educate many of the indigenes of the areas on the ways to cope with whatever effect of the operations of national and multi-national oil and gas corporations operating within their environment.

Many opinion leaders and traditional rulers of most communities, including the youths and women have on several occasions voiced their feelings that they were more appreciated, treated better and with more respect, and assisted more by the management and officials of Britanica Horizontal Directional Drilling Limited than many other companies that have executed projects around them.

Indeed, the testimony of the operations of Britanica Horizontal Directional Drilling Limited is also a testimony of the character, personality and integrity of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Alhaji Awwal Garba, A. D., Talban Dan Hausa Daura. This British trained Business Economists appreciates the natural connection between people and environment. There is need to foster a strong synergy between the two. The people must benefit from the operation of what is happening in their environment and vice versa. He has maintained this ideology all through his professional and business career. He is an amazing Ambassador of indigenous players within the nation’s all important oil and gas sector.

It would be appropriate for the federal government through its regulators, managers and operators of the oil and gas sector to seek out Nigerians, who are qualified, and who have demonstrated unquestionable performance and requisite professional and personal integrity within the sector to involve them more as a way of keeping the nation’s treasured resources within the nation and its good people.

In this regard, I can state without any fear that Alhaji Awwal Garba A. D., indeed represents such Nigerians, who are indeed scattered across the country. He is truly an Indigenous Genius with a Global Capacity.

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Examining Stanbic IBTC vis-à-vis banking industry compliance and corporate governance practices

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Examining Stanbic IBTC vis-à-vis banking industry compliance and corporate governance practice

At a recent function in Abuja, the Managing Director/CEO of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, delivered a lecture where he revealed that there has been a consistent decline, over the past three years, in the recorded rate of successful fraud incidences, thefts and forgeries in the banking industry. Specifically, Ibrahim said such cases had declined by almost half, 48.12%, of the rate it was in 2015.

In response to how the industry was able to achieve such impressive reductions, Ibrahim, while putting in perspective the key reason for frauds to help buttress his response, explained that poor corporate governance practices in terms of regulatory and supervisory oversight and compliance allow frauds and forgeries to thrive. So all that needed to be done was to ensure a stronger corporate governance practice. He said the reduction is indicative of the strict adherence to sound corporate governance practices by banks, which include compliance with regulations.

Indeed, experts at a recent workshop organized by the National Institute of Compliance (NIC) agreed that compliance is at the heart of sound banking practices and sustainable banking and that the risk of banking industry failure is remoter now than it was some years back due to a higher level of compliance. The nature of the banking industry, with its intermediation functions, is such that failure can have very dire consequences for businesses and the economy. Thus, banks have a responsibility to ensure a stable industry and this can only be achieved by sound corporate governance practices.

In the 90s and early 2000s, regulatory and supervisory oversight was weak and compliance by banks to regulations was mainly in the breach. Then, the industry was an all comers’ affair, mostly populated by charlatans who see the industry as mainly a meal ticket. Banks were being opened at a dizzying pace then, with sometimes three or four opened in a month. Before the recapitalization exercise of 2005, there were close to 200 banks in the country. There was widespread corruption in the industry at the time, which led to billions of naira of depositors’ money and investors’ funds lost or misappropriated. But following the recapitalization exercise and especially after the global financial crisis of 2008, corporate governance became a major issue leading to the introduction of a raft of corporate governance codes.

For a bank like Stanbic IBTC, regulatory compliance comes like second nature. The brand’s penchant for regulatory compliance was validated in 2015 at the maiden edition of the Corporate Affairs Commission’s Corporate Citizens Awards. Stanbic IBTC Bank came first for compliance among Nigerian banks and was awarded the Most Extensive Compliance award. According to CAC, “over 800 companies were nominated for the awards, only 26 companies made the final list, out of which the nine winning companies emerged,” including Stanbic IBTC and three other banks.

Certainly, there is no better validation than a regulator attesting to a company’s good corporate citizenship. And it is no surprise that a bank like Stanbic IBTC was adjudged the first among equals in terms of compliance. Many sometimes view the bank’s processes and policies as cumbersome because of the different layers of regulatory requirements it insists must be met before a transaction can be consummated. But then on the flip side is that Stanbic IBTC Bank is one of the most secure, transparent and trusted financial institutions in the country today. These qualities continue to translate into very strong financial performances in its operations and a bullish outlook for the stock at the Nigerian Stock Exchange. In its 2018 financial report, Stanbic IBTC Bank posted an impressive 54% growth in PAT. Balance sheet grew by 20% to N1.6 trillion, driven mainly by deposit growth of 7%. And most importantly, was able to improve its asset quality as ratio of non-performing loans to total loans improved to 3.9%.

Financial institutions, particularly Stanbic IBTC, fully appreciate and understand that their survival depend on how well they are able to manage the relationships amongst their stakeholders, which require them to establish and maintain harmony between parties whose interests sometimes conflict. It is the management of such relationships that corporate governance code embodies. It is this realisation that led banks to self-regulate when in 2003 the Code of Corporate Governance for Banks and Other Financial Institutions in Nigeria was established by the Bankers’ Committee and CIBN.

Stanbic IBTC’s strong corporate governance practices is critical to the financial institution’s continued growth trajectory. The seamlessness of its change of leadership last year was quite impressive and such practices will no doubt give it the desired stability to further increase its market share and to post impressive financial results, going forward.

With the 2003 code, the 2014 CBN code and a spate of regulations by the apex bank as situation demands, which makes for a stronger regulatory oversight, one can almost argue that the possibility of a banking industry failure is remoter than constant uninterrupted power supply in the country. Despite the cost of compliance, which can sometimes be huge and burdensome in terms of time and direct cost, and the risk of managements of banks becoming particularly focused on compliance at the expense of doing business, financial institutions remain resolute in ensuring a strong and viable industry. And this is beginning to produce dividends as shown by the recent NDIC figures and the industry’s financial scorecards.

Today, banks sometimes face the wrath of stakeholders as they strive to comply with regulatory directives. A case in point was the directive by the CBN that banks publish the names of delinquent debtors on its books, which did not go down well with some customers. Another was the foreign exchange utilization position, mandated to be published weekly, and the various restrictions to dollar disbursements to bank customers. Treasury Single Account(TSA), which required all agencies of government to each maintain a single account with the CBN, leading to the withdrawal of trillions of naira from commercial banks, was another policy that banks would have gladly avoided but nonetheless diligently complied with. And most recently is the ‘appointment’ of banks by the Federal Inland Revenue Service as tax collecting agents, which pitched the banks directly against some of their customers and trade partners.

There is no doubt that there is a new compliance orientation in the banking industry. And as banks like Stanbic IBTC, Zenith Bank, Access Bank and UBA continue to lead the financial services industry towards improved compliance levels, it will not only check corruption in the banking industry and risk of possible collapse, it will, due to banks’ pivotal role in the economy, help sanitize business practices and thereby attract investors and boost the economy.

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Dangote refinery awards $368m worth of contracts to local contractors

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Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical has so far awarded $368 million to 120 local contractors at the site as part of its contribution to Nigeria content development initiative.

The Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development and Capital Projects, Dangote Industries Limited, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, who made this disclosure during the tour of the Dangote Refinery by members of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), yesterday in Lagos, said there are several Nigerian content opportunities in the company’s refinery and petrochemical project.

He noted that the Refinery would lead to significant skills transfer and technology acquisition opportunities in the country.

He said the Group has embarked on a landmark integrated Refinery and Petrochemical project, regarded as the largest industrial complex in the history of Africa, which is expected to take Nigeria to new heights through the transformation of the economy.

According to him, the company is already partnering with the Lagos State government and Siemens in the skills development of the local community for employment at the construction site. “We have already trained and employed 250 artisans,” he added.

He disclosed the company’s intention to train 900 Nigerian engineers in India. “The company has completed the overseas training of first and Second batches of Nigerian engineers and are being acclimatized at site. The third batch left for India

classroom training for one month, on the job training for one year and working in real time with experts in the industry every day”, he added.

He said that company has so far employed 3580 Nigerian personnel on site. “This excludes employment by the various contractors and subcontractors at the site”, he said.

Edwin disclosed that the company, in partnership with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), kicked-off of training for 200 youths in its host communities, as part of its corporate social responsibility initiatives.

He disclosed that the programme is meant to prepare the selected youth with vocational skills that will make them employable or self-employed.

According to the company, the youth are currently be trained in areas of plumbing, masonry, welding, iron bending, auto mechanics and electrical works because of the instant value addition to their lives and communities.

Speaking on the progress made so far on the refinery project, Edwin disclosed that the company has imported world’s largest Reactor Regenerator and well as a

Crude Column, which is equivalent to 30-storied building weighing about 100 fully loaded trucks.

He said that the Dangote Petroleum Refinery can meet 100 per cent of the Nigerian requirement of all liquid products, such as Gasoline, Diesel, Kerosene & Aviation Jet and also would have surplus of each of these products for export.

According to him, the Refinery will ensure that the security of local supply of petroleum products is guaranteed as well as the availability of petrochemical feedstock (Poly-propylene & Polyethylene), which will be enough for the Nigerian market as well as the neighboring countries.

With a fast-growing population and poor infrastructure, he said the refinery would also reposition Nigeria as an attractive investment destination and a major industrial hub in Africa.

Edwin added that the company also possess strategically located marine infrastructure for crude receipts and product trade when the refinery is fully completed.

He noted that the 650,000 barrels per day refinery has been designed to process a variety of light and medium grades of crude and produce extremely clean fuels that meet Euro V specification.

He said that company has invested in most advanced units to produce Euro V fuel due to help Nigeria meet the European Standard of gasoline.

Edwin said in addition to the refinery plant, the company is constructing the largest fertilizer Plant in West Africa. “Current consumption of Urea in Nigeria is 700,000 tonnes. There is very poor per hectare usage of fertilizer leading to very poor crop yield. By 2020, Nigerian population, which is around 207 million, would lead to increased food consumption.

“Estimates point out that around five million tonnes of fertilizers are required per year in Nigeria in next five to seven years bifurcated into 3.5 Million tonnes of Urea.

“Dangote Fertilizer Project is the largest Granulated Urea Fertilizer complex coming up in the entire fertilizer industry history in the World, with an investment of $2.0 Billion capacity of 3 Million tonnes per annum. The Dangote Fertilizer complex consists of Ammonia and Urea plants with associated facilities and infrastructure, to produce 3 MMTPA Urea,” he stated.

President/Chairman of council Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, (NIPR) Mukhtar Zubairu Sirajo, commended the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote for his investment in the Nigeria’s petroleum sector.

Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists, (NUJ) Lagos State Council, Dr. Qasim Akinreti, thanked the company for giving the union opportunity to embark on the tour of the refinery project.

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Wema Bank Annual General Meeting Photos

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Here are photos from the just concluded Wema Bank Annual General Meeting, held in Lagos state.

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