By Dipo Olowookere
Since Thursday, October 5, 2017, when President Muhammadu Buhari announced Mrs Aishah Ahmad, as the new Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), there have been controversies trailing the young woman.
Mrs Ahmad was appointed to replace Mrs Serah Alade, who retired in March 2017 as the Deputy Governor of the CBN in charge of Economic Policy.
She is expected to assume duty as CBN deputy governor immediately after her confirmation by the Senate.
A report by Premium Times has said Mrs Ahmad was ‘controversially’ promoted to the position of an Executive Director of Diamond Bank Plc few hours to her announcement for the new CBN job.
But the lender, when contacted by the newspaper, gave a dodgy response to this issue.
Rather than make a categorical comment on when Mrs Ahmad was raised from her position as deputy general manager to executive director, Mr Mike Omeife, Head of Media Relations at the bank, merely said she had been executive director at the bank “for a while”.
He maintained that based on her wealth of experience, she is qualified to be appointed to the new position.
Until her appointment, Mrs Ahmad, a holder of Master of Science, M.Sc degree in Finance & Management from the Cranfield School of Management, United Kingdom (2006-2007) and a Master of Business Administration, MBA in Finance, University of Lagos (1999-2001), was the executive director (Retail Banking) at Diamond Bank Plc.
She is the chairperson, executive council of Women in Management, Business and Public Service, WIMBIZ, a Nigerian non-profit organization focused on issues affecting the interest of women professionals in business, particularly those promoting leadership development and capacity building to engender growth.
Since her appointment, there had been controversies, especially on social media, over her qualification for the CBN job.
But in a chat with PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday, Mr Omeife said the new CBN deputy governor had been an executive director at Diamond Bank “for a while”.
When asked of the specific date, he explained that he might not immediately have the details but he was confident she had been appointed executive director “for a while”.
Our sources maintained Mr Omeife “was economical with the truth”.
Checks by PREMIUM TIMES revealed that details of the bank’s annual report showed that as at December 2016, Mrs Ahmad held the position of Head, Consumer and Privilege Banking. The two executive directors listed in the report are Chizoma Okoli, Executive Director Business Development, and Chiugo Ndubisi, Executive Director/Chief Financial Officer.
Similarly, in its quarterly reports for March and June 2017, the names of the two aforementioned officials remained as executive directors.
Meanwhile, checks on the disclosure platform of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, for possible announcement of Mrs Ahmad’s elevation also yielded no result as no such disclosure was made throughout 2017.
When contacted on the telephone on Monday, the media officer of the NSE, Joseph Kadiri, could not immediately give response to the request.
He, however, told PREMIUM TIMES to forward the request to him via email and promised to send to appropriate quarters for reply. More than 24 hours after the request was sent with reminders, PREMIUM TIMES has not gotten any response.
But Mr Omeife, Tuesday, suggested that disclosure of Mrs Ahmad’s appointment as ED may not necessarily be made to the Nigerian bourse.
“From the financial services perspective, the CBN handles issues involving people from ED (position) up (wards),” he said.
When asked about the alleged double promotion the new CBN official reportedly enjoyed on the day she was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Omeife said he knew nothing about such development.
“I don’t know about that; all I am meant to understand is that the president appointed her as CBN deputy governor and sent her name to the Senate for approval. I don’t know about that (issue of double promotion).
“But I know she is eminently qualified to be the CBN deputy governor and I am expecting young Nigerians to applaud her,” he said, in reference to Mrs Ahmad’s academic and professional antecedents.
He, however, said further enquiries should be directed to the CBN.
But PREMIUM TIMES’ efforts to reach the CBN were futile. Isaac Okorafor, the apex bank’s spokesperson, did not answer or return calls to his known number. He also did not reply to a text message sent to him.
PRIVILEGE BANKING VS ECONOMIC POLICY
Many commentators alleged that her promotion to the position of executive director at Diamond Bank Plc was ‘fast-tracked’, a few hours to the announcement of her name by the Nigerian government.
Insiders at the bank told PREMIUM TIMES she was promoted executive director hours to the announcement of her appointment to the CBN position. There was a company-wide announcement to that effect, our sources said.
However, the CBN Act does not require that an appointee to that position must be an executive director of a bank, and it is not clear why she had to be controversially upgraded.
Section 8 sub-section 1 of the CBN Act 2007 states, among others, that: “The Governor and Deputy Governors “shall be persons of recognised financial experience and shall be appointed by the President subject to the confirmation of the Senate.”
Some commentators argue that Mrs Ahmad’s expertise may not be the kind of skills needed at the CBN. She is better known for overseeing privilege banking, securing accounts from high net-worth individuals, and providing private client services to wealthy customers. Her understanding of economic policies remained unclear.
Abdul Mahmud, an Abuja-based attorney, said of the appointment, “That she replaces Sarah Alade as Deputy Governor of CBN in charge of economic policy- monetary policy, financial market, etc, before her retirement, makes her catapult curious.
“With a background in accounting and professional training in consumer banking, you would ask: what was her appointor thinking? She is not a monetarist, there is nothing in her CV that shows that she is nuanced in monetary economics.
“Well, with another misfit, Emefiele, at the helm of CBN, who has been accused of doing wash wash -printing more naira notes- an Emefiele-esque Quantitative Easing (QE) -to address liquidity problem and creating the more serious problem of inflationary pressure- a process of policy catalyzation really- you will understand why the oracle has consistently argued that the government projection of the Economic and Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) to reduce the inflation rate from 19% to 0% by 2020 is a pipe dream.
“Brace up for harder, perilous, and more difficult economic times.”
Source: Premium Times
Abiola Bawuah Emerges First Female UBA Africa CEO
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
A Ghanaian national, Mrs Abiola Bawuah, has been appointed as the first female chief executive for UBA Africa, a statement from the financial institution has said.
With her appointment, she joins the group board as an executive director, overseeing the organisation’s operations across the African continent, outside Nigeria.
According to the disclosure from the lender, the appointment of Mrs Buwuah demonstrates its commitment to diversity, bringing the total number of female directors in the UBA Group Board to eight.
Prior to her appointment, Mrs Bawuah was Regional CEO of West Africa, supervising the group’s operations in nine subsidiaries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. She previously held the role of the CEO of UBA Ghana.
“Abiola has contributed significantly to the growth of UBA Africa for close to a decade. She brings a wealth of experience in commercial banking and stakeholder engagement.
“It also gives me great pleasure that with her appointment, the UBA Group Board has now become a majority female board,” the Group Board Chairman of UBA Plc, Mr Tony Elumelu, said.
Also, UBA Group has appointed Mr Chris Ofikulu as the Regional CEO of UBA West Africa. The appointee has over two decades of banking experience spanning corporate, commercial, and retail banking.
In addition, Mr Uzoechina Molokwu will take on the role of Deputy Managing Director (DMD) of UBA Ghana, subject to local regulatory approvals. He was previously the Executive Director for Business Development at UBA Côte d’Ivoire and has over 23 years of banking experience.
Further, Mr Ayokunle Olajubu has been asked to take charge of UBA Liberia, subject to local regulatory approvals. He currently drives compliance across African subsidiaries and comes with 30 years of banking experience in Nigeria and other African countries, including Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire and the Gambia.
In the statement, UBA disclosed that Ms Theresa Henshaw has been appointed as CEO of UBA UK, subject to local regulatory approvals. She was previously the DMD, Business Development, UBA America and joined the Group as ED, Business Development at UBA UK.
Similarly, Mr Usman Isiaka, currently the CEO of UBA Sierra Leone, will be the Deputy CEO of UBA America, subject to local regulatory approvals, while Mr Adeyemi Adeleke, the former CEO of UBA UK, is now the Group Treasurer. He will be working to unlock the immense value in the Group’s multi-jurisdictional balance sheet, leveraging on its presence in 24 countries within and beyond Africa.
Meanwhile, UBA has announced the retirement of Mr Samuel Oni, an independent non-executive Director, from the board following the expiration of his tenure.
He joined the UBA Group in January 2015 and served on the board of the group for eight years.
In the statement, Mr Elumelu thanked him for his commitment, leadership and extensive contributions to the UBA Group, wishing him the best in all his future endeavours.
UBA operates in 19 African countries beyond Nigeria, in addition to global operations in New York, London, Paris and the UAE. The company provides retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting-edge technology.
How to Improve the Efficacy of Your Remote Workforce
With the increasing prevalence of remote work, companies are looking for ways to make the most of their remote workforce and maximize its efficacy. As such, businesses must understand how to improve the performance of their remote teams and find effective strategies to ensure successful outcomes.
1. Effective Communication
Clear and consistent employee voice needs to be included in improving the efficacy of a remote workforce. Employers should incorporate feedback from their employees, such as through hosting employee surveys or questionnaires, to get an idea of what is working, what could use some improvement, and how they can make the remote working experience better for everyone.
It is standard employee input that will help to eliminate any potential issues before they arise. Additionally, employers should aim to foster a sense of community amongst their team members by organizing virtual meetings or check-ins where issues can be openly discussed and reliably addressed. This fosters meaningful communication between teammates and encourages creative ideas that benefit the team.
2. Appropriate Training
Another way to enhance the performance of your remote workforce is by providing appropriate training and development opportunities. Companies should ensure that all remote workers have access to the same educational materials they would receive if they worked in an office environment.
By giving employees access to online classes or webinars, businesses can ensure that their employees are up-to-date with the latest advancements in their field. Companies should also consider offering incentives or rewards when goals are met to give staff an extra incentive for performing better than expected.
3. Creating a Sense of Community
Something else employers should focus on when trying to improve the efficacy of their remote workforce is creating a sense of community amongst team members. Although this may be harder due to the physical distance between members, there are still plenty of ways for organizations to foster workplace friendships and build trust within teams – holding virtual happy hours or game nights are just some examples of what can be done remotely. Regular catch-ups allow team members to get comfortable with one another, encouraging collaboration and creativity when working together on projects.
4. Track Employee Progress
In addition, employers should consider taking measures that keep track of employee progress so they can more accurately measure performance levels among individuals regularly. Utilizing time-tracking apps or automated attendance reports are just some solutions businesses can implement which help them identify any potential issues early on with greater accuracy. Setting clear objectives and measurable outcomes also provides teams with something tangible they can aim toward while helping managers identify areas where additional support is required.
5. Keep Morale High
Employers must keep morale high amongst their remote staff by recognizing successes often while acknowledging challenges they face along the way – big and small wins! Showing appreciation through compliments or praise goes a long way towards making staff feel appreciated even though they might not physically be present every day like those who work out of an office environment would be.
Employers can also create awards programs that recognize outstanding performances throughout different departments or particular milestones achieved by individuals. These initiatives not only help boost morale but can also act as motivation for others striving towards achieving similar feats within the company too!
6. Access to All the Appropriate Tools
Finally, ensure your remote workers have access to all the tools to do their job effectively and efficiently. This means having a reliable internet connection and up-to-date hardware such as computers or laptops. Investing in cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox or Google Drive can enable collaboration among team members worldwide.
Furthermore, if certain applications or software programs are required for certain tasks, make sure those are readily available for your employees so that there won’t be any unnecessary delays or roadblocks along the way.
Improving efficiencies amongst your remote workforce requires careful consideration from both employer and employee alike – it’s crucial for companies who wish for success out of this venture! With technology growing ever more advanced every day now more than ever before, there exists plenty of solutions available that facilitate better communication and collaboration amongst teams no matter where each member may reside geographically. Taking advantage of such advances will go far towards helping organizations reach greater heights quicker than they thought possible beforehand.
JTI Nigeria Remains Top Employer for 4th Consecutive Year
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
For the fourth consecutive year, the Nigerian subsidiary of Japan Tobacco International (JTI), Habanera Limited, has been recognised as a Top Employer, while the parent firm retained its position for the 9th consecutive year.
This latest certification recognises the excellent working condition provided at the organisation as excelling in each of the assessment categories, which included outstanding HR policies and practices, employee well-being, diversity and inclusion and exceptional learning and development opportunities.
Speaking on this year’s recognition as a Top Employer in Nigeria, the General Manager of JTI’s entity in Nigeria, Mr Thomas Adams, said, “We are extremely delighted to be recertified by Top Employer Institute as a Top Employer both in Nigeria and globally. This award is a confirmation of the efficiency of our people policies, which continue to create an optimal environment for our talents to grow, thrive and fulfil their potential.”
Mr Adams further stated that, “At JTI, investment in our people is at the heart of everything we do. From the provision of equal opportunities, an open environment, and development programmes to general employee well-being initiatives, we continue to offer the right resources for our people to attain their personal and career aspirations.
“This latest award will push us to continue prioritising our people by keeping them safe, engaged and inspired towards ensuring JTI remains a great place to work for our valued talents and an attractive destination for future talents.”
The Top Employer certification is awarded by the Top Employers Institute, which conducts an annual international audit of leading employers around the world.
The research firm assesses participating companies in nine key areas: talent strategy, workforce planning, on-boarding, learning and development, performance management, and leadership development.
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