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ASO Savings’ Risikatu Ahmed, Eight Other female MDs Celebrated for Leading Nigeria’s Banking Sector



Women In Business, WIMBIZ, a Nigerian non-profit organisation working to inspire women to attain leadership roles in Management, Business and Public Service, last week celebrated nine outstanding professional women who took mantle of leadership in the banking sector.

One of the outstanding female top bankers recognised by WINBIZ was Risikatu Ladi Ahmed.

Risi Ahmed was recently appointed as the first female Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ASO Savings & Loans Plc. With her appointment, Risikatu becomes the first female to be appointed as the CEO of a primary mortgage bank in recent times.

Other women on the WIMBIZ list of honour are: Ireti Samuel Ogbu of Citibank Nigeria; Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe of Fidelity Bank Plc; Yemisi Edun of First City Monument Bank; Bukola Smith of FSDH Merchant Bank; Miriam Olusanya of Guaranty Trust Bank; Kafilat Araoye of Lotus ank; Halima Buba of SunTrust Bank and Tomi Somefun of Unity Bank.

These distinguished female professionals are taking over the banking sector at a critical point in the nation’s economic trajectory and their appointments by the Boards of their institutions are adjudged as a vote of confidence on the abilities of female professionals to steer the ship of the financial sector at a most challenging time.

Primary Mortgage banks have been in focus in recent times. The need to provide affordable houses has become a critical deliverable by the governments at various levels and this has made the mortgage institution a very critical financial sector in the economy.

The choice of a woman as the head of a mortgage bank is a big stride in the Mortgage community because women are considered as stronger in long term plans execution and paying attention to details.

Finance industry analysts posit that ASO Savings & Loans has taken a bolder step by appointing a woman as the bank’s CEO.

Risikatu Ahmed has over two decades banking experience. Attaining the peak of her career as the first female Managing Director of ASO Savings & Loans Plc is a bold statement that, irrespective of gender, a focused professional can aspire to top positions.

Prior to her appointment as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ASO Savings & Loans Plc, she was an Executive Director of the bank.

An alumna of Lagos Business School (SMP), University of Pennsylvania, Wharton Advanced Management Program, Risikatu has also gone through leadership courses in Harvard Business School.

The nine women who have taken over at the major money deposit and mortgage banks are distinguished professionals who have, through dint of hard work and resilience, climbed the corporate ladders to the peak of their careers. Risikatu is the only one of the nine that heads a Mortgage bank, while others are CEOs of money deposit banks.

Studies show that gender diversity (and all diversities) initiative in corporate governance is smart business. Women have different life experiences, and often bring different skill sets, ways of thinking, and approaches to problem solving. Researches also indicate that women top executives tend to be more prudent, transparent and unyielding in achieving corporate goals.

WINBIZ considers these female achievers as worthy of celebration as well as a source of inspiration and role models to women professionals who are aiming at reaching the pinnacles of their careers.

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Unity Bank Collaborate to Fund N15.5bn Equipment for Julius Berger



Unity Bank Plc, in company of other banks has facilitated a credit facility of N15.5bn for the acquisition of trucks and equipment to Julius Berger Plc.

The group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of SCOA Nigeria Plc, Dr Massad Boulos, has appreciated the gesture.

A statement from SCOA said that SCOA presented 33 MAN platform trucks and equipment to Julius Berger to be deployed for the construction of the 380 kilometre Abuja-Kaduna-Kano roads.

The banks that funded the acquisition were Unity Bank Plc, Heritage Bank Limited, Zenith Bank Plc, Providus Bank Limited, Wema Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Union Bank Plc and Coronation Merchant Bank Limited.

Boulos said, “I commend Unity Bank, their MD and the members of the executive management; and the entire team of banks who have worked closely with us on this project.”

Mr Ralph Brendicke, the representative of the MD of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Dr Lars Richter, said the trucks and other equipment would help the company expand its field capacity and increase the speed of execution leading to timely completion of the highly anticipated project.

The MD/CEO of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs Tomi Somefun, represented by the Directorate Head, Lagos and South West Zone, Mr Wale Ogunride, was quoted as saying, “We looked at the strategic importance of this project and how such infrastructure could contribute to stimulating economic activity and decided that Unity Bank must play its part.

“Unity Bank will continue to provide support to such projects as we have been doing in other critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture.”

In a separate statement, the Executive Director of Wema Bank, Mr Oluwole Ajimisinmi, was quoted as saying that his bank was delighted to be one of the institutions to support SCOA in the project.

He also encouraged and solicited for more local content in order to create more jobs.

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NBS Report: Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Dropped Further to 17.01% in August



Nigeria’s inflation rate has dropped by 0.37 per cent to 17.01 per cent (year-on-year) in August, from the 17.38 per cent recorded in July.

This was disclosed in the Consumer Price Index report just released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

According to the report, composite food index also dropped to 20.30 per cent against 21.03 per cent in July.

“This rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, milk, cheese and egg, oils and fats, Potatoes, yam and other tuber, food products n.e.c, meat and coffee, tea and cocoa,” the report read in part.

At the same time, the country’s urban inflation rate fell to 17.59 per cent year-on-year, from 18.01 per cent recorded two months ago, rural inflation rate tapered to 16.43 per cent from a previous 16.75 per cent, while core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce dropped by 0.31 per cent to 13.41 per cent in from 13.72 per cent recorded in July.

“The corresponding twelve-month year-on-year average percentage change for the urban index is 17.19 per cent in August 2021. This is higher than 16.89 per cent reported in July 2021, while the corresponding rural inflation rate in August 2021 is 16.03 per cent compared to 15.73 per cent recorded in July 2021,” the report further stated.

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Dangote Partners NCDMB on Oil Sector Research, Development



Dangote Refinery has announced a partnership with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board on the promotion of research and development in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.

According to a statement from the firm, Dangote refinery was a platinum sponsor of the second edition of the NCDMB Research and Development Fair and Conference 2021 in a bid to show its commitment to the project.

The statement also said that Dangote refinery was able to showcase its 650,000 barrel per day project and the research and development activities it had carried out during the construction of the refinery at the fair.

The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, commended the company’s support for the fair. He expressed the need for companies in the Nigeria oil and gas sector to start nurturing the growth of the country’s home-grown technology rather just being wholesome consumers of other people’s innovations.

Wabote was quoted as saying, “Analysis of global practices of Research and Development revealed that the combined R&D spend of just five countries makes up 63.5 per cent of the entire global R&D spend. These five countries, namely USA, China, Japan, Germany, and India were also observed to have accounted for over 50 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product.

“Africa, on the other hand, accounted for less than one per cent of the global R&D spend while its GDP is only three per cent of the global GDP. You will agree with me that there is a nexus between the spend on Research and Development and economic prosperity,” the Executive Secretary added.

The minister, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, also called on industry stakeholders and youths across the country to take advantage of the NCDMB R&D centre to bolster adaptation of existing solutions and also come up with new ones to address major challenges in the industry.

The Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, represented by his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo was quoted as saying that the theme for the fair captures stakeholders’ collective commitment to aggressively drive innovation and position the oil industry on the path of an integrated energy sector, where field development and production solutions are sourced through local capabilities.

He emphasised the need for private sector operators to invest in research and development. “It is important, however, to clear up a certain misconception: The funding of research is not the sole responsibility of National Governments; rather, big spenders on research and development globally come from the private sector,” he added.

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