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SEC Okays CEOs of Nigerian Exchange Group, Others

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Nigerian Exchange Group

By Dipo Olowookere

The appointments of the chief executive officers (CEOs) of the demutualised Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) have been approved by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).

Recently, the SEC, which is the highest regulatory body for the capital market in Nigeria, authorised the unbundling of the exchange after meeting all the requirements, including registering with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

This transformed the NSE into a non-operating holding company known as the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX Group) and three operating subsidiaries Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), the operating exchange; NGX Regulation Limited (NGX REGCO), the independent regulatory company; and NGX Real Estate Limited (NGX RELCO), the real estate company.

Mr Oscar Onyema, who had been the CEO of the NSE, was appointed as the Group CEO of the NGX Group, while Mr Temi Popoola was made the CEO of NGX and Ms Tinuade Awe chosen as the CEO of NGX RELCO.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the NGX Group, Mr Abimbola Ogunbanjo, stated that, “The confirmation of these appointments are an important step in the process of building a leading and resilient African exchange group following the completion of our demutualisation programme.

“I am delighted to continue working with Oscar Onyema, who has played a significant role in the reshaping of the exchange.

“As a proven business leader and strategic thinker, I am confident that he will elevate the NGX Group and its subsidiaries successfully into a new era of development.”

On his part, the Chairman of the NGX, Mr A.B Mahmoud, said: “The confirmation of the appointment of Temi Popoola as the first CEO of the Nigerian Exchange Limited comes at a pivotal moment for Nigerian capital markets as the Exchange enters a new phase of its history as a demutualised company, bringing to the exchange his track record of achievement local and global capital markets.

“He will focus on ensuring the exchange delivers an even higher level of service for all its participants and stakeholders, including investors, listed companies and brokers.

“I look forward to working with him and his team in the new dispensation as we move forward on implementing the group’s growth strategy.”

On the part of the Chairperson of NGX REGCO, Ms Catherine Echeozo, “The clear separation of the regulatory and business functions is an essential part of the group’s operations following demutualisation and the board was determined to ensure the selection of an experienced regulator for this task.

“I believe all the exchange’s stakeholders will welcome the announcement of Tinuade Awe as the first CEO NGX Regulation, given her prodigious experience and track record in capital markets regulation.

“Our stakeholders can continue to look forward to a robust and transparent regulatory regime under her leadership.”

Who they are

Oscar Onyema

Mr Oscar Onyema until his new appointment served as the CEO and member of the National Council of the exchange from 2011 – 2021.

In this role, he was responsible for supervising the general work of the exchange. He serves as the Chairman, Central Securities Clearing System Plc (CSCS), the clearing, settlement and depository for the Nigerian capital markets; and Chairman, NG Clearing, which is in the process of developing a Central Counterparty Clearing House (CCP).

In addition, Mr Onyema is a board member of the National Pension Commission of Nigeria (PENCOM) and sits on several advisory boards including the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) Africa Advisory Group (LAAG).

Prior to relocating to Nigeria, he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at American Stock Exchange (Amex). He also ran the NYSE Amex equity business following the merger of NYSE Euronext and Amex in 2008.

His remarkable achievements have earned him awards such as the Special Recognition Award for transformational leadership in the Nigerian Capital Markets at Business Day Top 25 CEOs Award 2018.

In 2015 Forbes Magazine named him among the Top 10 Most Powerful Men in Africa. In the preceding year, he received the national honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) from the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Mr Onyema is an alumnus of Harvard Business School, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and INSEAD International Directors Programme. He got his MBA from Baruch College, New York; and BSc degree from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (IoD) Nigeria, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Associate of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) in the UK, and holds FINRA Series 7, 24, 63 qualifications in the United States.

Temi Popoola

Mr Temi Popoola is a successful C-suite leader whose unique blend of business acumen, financial expertise, global market growth and operational insight has earned him a reputation built on verifiable career achievements.

A Wall Street trained investment banker, Mr Popoola joins NGX Ltd from Renaissance Capital (Rencap) where he was Managing Director and CEO for West Africa.

He supported the continuous growth, profitability and success of the organisation by providing strategic market insight and leadership. He led the transformation of Rencap in West Africa by diversifying the company’s revenue streams into fixed income, derivatives, structured products, debt financing and wealth management.

In addition to influencing change across the organisation, he was responsible for overseeing a global workforce, expanding foreign investor capital opportunities into West Africa and introducing enduring business processes and strategic initiatives.

Since his return to Nigeria in 2009, Mr Popoola has also worked with United Bank of Africa (UBA) as Head of Structured Products for Global markets and with CSL Stockbrokers Ltd as Head of Sales and Trading. In both of these positions, he guided growth and advancement for investors across global markets, including South Africa, the UK, the Middle East and the US.

Mr Popoola began his career in London as a portfolio manager focused on African energy markets and worked for several years as a senior equity derivatives trader with Bank of America Securities in New York where he drove firm profitability by providing derivative solutions to US corporations and family offices.

He graduated with a First-Class degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Lagos and holds a Master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is a Chartered financial analyst (CFA) and a Chartered stockbroker (CIS). He holds Series 7 and 63 licensures.

Tinuade Awe

Ms Tinuade Awe, prior to attaining her new position, was an Executive Director, Regulation at the exchange. She also served as the General Counsel and Head of the Legal and Regulation Division as well as Council Secretary before becoming an Executive Director.

Before joining the exchange, Ms Awe worked with the United Nations in The Hague and Geneva as well as the New York offices of the global law firm, Simpson Thacher & Barlett and Banwo & Ighodalo in Lagos, Nigeria.

As Executive Director, Regulation, she had responsibility for the regulation of the two primary stakeholder groups of the exchange, i.e., the dealing members that trade on the exchange and issuers that have securities listed on the bourse.

Her team was responsible for rulemaking and interpretation, monitoring, inspections, market surveillance, investigations, regulatory technology, and enforcement.

She is a non-executive director of the Central Securities Clearing System Plc (CSCS) and also a member of the board of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC).

She chairs the FRC’s Board Corporate Governance Committee, which has board-level responsibility to monitor the implementation of the National Code of Corporate Governance (NCCG).

Among other professional pursuits, Ms Awe was a member of the Nigerian Senate’s Technical Advisory Committee to review the Bill for an Act to Amend the Companies and Allied Matters Act and the Bill for an Act to review the Investment and Securities Act.

Ms Awe has an LL.B Degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, graduating as the Best Female Student in the Faculty of Law. She finished at the Nigerian Law School with First Class Honours, graduating as Best Overall Student. She also holds LL.M Degrees from Harvard Law School, where she was a Landon H. Gammon Fellow, as well as The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where she graduated with a Merit. At the LSE, she was a British Council Scholar. She is admitted to both the Nigerian and New York Bars.

Ms Awe is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the International Bar Association. She is an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) and the Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ICMR). She is a Life Member of the Institute of Directors. She is the recipient of The African Legal Awards 2018, General Counsel of the Year; Law Digest Africa Awards, General Counsel of the Year 2018, and Esq. Nigeria Legal Awards, General Counsel of the Year 2017.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Joseph-Amedu Heads National Blood Service Commission

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National Blood Service Commission

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Federal Government of Nigeria has established the National Blood Service Commission (NBSC) to replace the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) to coordinate, regulate and ensure the provision of safe, quality blood transfusion services.

This information was contained in a statement issued by Mr Abdullahi Haruna, the commission’s Head of Media and Publicity over the weekend in Abuja.

He explained that the NBTS was formerly a unit under the Department of Hospital Services in the Federal Ministry of Health, which was passed by the National Assembly and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, Dr Omale Joseph-Amedu, the National Coordinator, would serve as the Acting Director-General of the agency in line with the provisions of the Act establishing the organisation.

“[The] commission has the statutory mandate to coordinate, regulate and ensure the provision of safe, quality blood transfusion services on a country-wide basis within the national health plan.

“Therefore, the commission is legally mandated to ensure proper compliance with the National Blood Service Guidelines and standards.

“It will also maintain a system of quality assurance at all levels of service, encourage research in all aspects of blood transfusion services and promote the rational use of blood, blood products and alternatives to blood where appropriate.

“The commission which takes effect immediately as National Blood Service Commission (NBSC) has communicated that its new name and status more aptly reflects the mandate of ensuring the availability of safe, quality and adequate blood services to all Nigerians,” the statement added.

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NDLEA Boosts Anti-Drug Fight with Fresh Narcotic Assistants

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Narcotic Assistants

By Adedapo Adesanya

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has strengthened the war against drug abuse and trafficking with the addition of hundreds of newly trained narcotic assistants to the workforce of the agency.

This was disclosed by the Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Mr Buba Marwa, on Saturday at the passing out parade and closing ceremony of the training of Narcotic Assistants Course 3 at the NDLEA Academy, Kotton Rikus in Jos, Plateau State.

“Today’s ceremony signposts yet another of the agency’s efforts towards the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign, and the total eradication of illicit drugs and their effects in Nigeria,” said Mr Marwa who was represented by the agency’s Secretary, Mr Shadrach Haruna.

“In particular, this training and passing out ceremony aligns with my vision of a well-motivated, visible, and proactive workforce that is service-ready to meet the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers of the agency and that of the nation in general,” he added.

Stating that Narcotic Assistants Course 3 of 2021 is the largest of the cadre and the first-ever course in over 25 years, Mr Marwa explained that the process leading to the training started in 2019 but was put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He stressed that the agency has lived up to its mandate and the accompanying challenges in the past eight months, and challenged the new narcotic assistants to join their colleagues already in the field across Nigeria fighting the drug war.

“The training has prepared you physically, mentally, and psychologically for the demanding tasks ahead. You must, henceforth, keep in mind that you are on national assignment in the fight against the drug pandemic,” Mr Marwa stated.

“You are going to be assaulted and tempted psychologically and physically, subtly and brashly by merchants of this nefarious trade; you will be offered money and other forms of gratification, but I call on you all to cultivate the will, guts, and coping skills required to reject these temptations and allow for effective discharge of your duties,” he further said.

The ceremony, which was concluded with the presentation of awards to the best performing cadets in eight different categories, was well attended by officials of other government agencies, as well as lawmakers and traditional rulers, among others.

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20% of Full-Time Workers in Nigeria Lost Jobs in 2020—Report

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full-time workers

By Adedapo Adesanya

A new report has disclosed that at least 20 per cent of full-time workers in Nigeria lost employment during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The report tagged The Impact of COVID-19 on Business Enterprises in Nigeria was jointly released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday.

Sampling 3,000 businesses via in-depth interviews across both formal and informal sectors in major industries of the economy, the report assessed the impact of COVID-19 on business enterprises in the country.

“While there have been promising signs of recovery this year, COVID-19 has had an outsized socio-economic impact on Nigeria,” it said.

“From disruptions in supply chains to ongoing supply and demand shocks and a drop in consumer confidence, these challenges are expected to leave a lasting impact on the businesses and enterprises that make up the backbone of the economy,” it added.

The report also highlighted the significant decline in revenue faced by enterprises and establishments across the country due to the pandemic.

It indicated that 81 per cent of enterprises interviewed, experienced a decline in revenue and 73 per cent stated that they faced liquidity challenges due to secondary impacts of the pandemic in 2020.

Data from the report showed that the median loss in revenue remained at 44 per cent, in comparison to 2019 revenues while about 60 per cent of enterprises surveyed experienced an increase in operational costs, with the price of raw materials and logistics being the top two contributors to the increase.

Other operational challenges included access to credit and capital, high expenditure on utilities, and inadequate social safety net, especially for informal enterprises.

In addition, the report revealed that one in three business enterprises surveyed indicated that some businesses have permanently closed due to operational challenges resulting from the pandemic.

According to the report, businesses are likely to continue experiencing the impact of the pandemic even after the easing of public health measures.

Despite reduced restrictions at the time of the interviews, 74 per cent of enterprises still reported a decrease in production levels when compared to the same time in 2019.

In his remarks, the new Statistician-General of the Federation and Head of the NBS, Mr Simon Harry, highlighted the importance of the survey results.

“As the economy begins to show signs of gradual growth, this report contains important information that can guide policymakers in their interventions to mitigate the negative socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 in the country,” he said

“I wish to thank UNDP for collaborating with the National Bureau of Statistics on this important report and I urge other development partners to emulate this worthy endeavour by partnering with the Bureau in matters relating to data generation in the country.

“Although the report findings highlight the complex challenges the economy continues to face because of COVID-19, it also tells a powerful story of innovation, resilience, and strength as Nigerian businesses leverage their ingenuity to adjust to this new normal,” he added.

On his part, UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Mohamed Yahya said, “As Nigeria mobilises to recover from the devastating health and socio-economic impact of the pandemic, this report will be a critical tool in informing targeted policymaking and programme interventions for both medium and long-term planning as the country rebuilds.”

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