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On this day, we celebrate top Nigerian women in business

Today is International Women’s day, a global, annual event specially dedicated to celebrate women and their many accomplishments.

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International Women's Day

Today is International Women’s day, a global, annual event specially dedicated to celebrate women and their many accomplishments in different spheres of life. And as traditional of us here at Nairametrics, we felicitate with women around the world, especially Nigerian women in business.

Nigerian women have come a long way from the early days when their main occupation entailed being wives and mothers, to the present time when they sit on the boards of reputable corporations. And there is still a long way to go, with many more glass ceilings to be broken.

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In the meantime, however, Nairametrics will keep celebrating women who are paving the way for others in the Nigerian corporate environment. Here are some of Nigeria’s top female executives to mark this year’s International Women’s Day. Some of them are notable names, while the others are still building their influence. Get to know them.

Mrs Owen Omogiafo, the CEO of Transcorp Hotels Plc 

Mrs Omogiafo was recently appointed the Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp Hotels Plc. She has more than eighteen years’ corporate experience, including her most recent role as the Chief Operating Officer of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. She has also held senior leadership positions in reputable corporations such as Heirs Holdings, United Bank for Africa, and Accenture.

She holds a B.Sc. in Sociology & Anthropology from the University of Benin and an M.Sc. in Human Resource Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Mrs. Omogiafo is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), UK and a Certified Change Manager with the Prosci Institute, USA. 

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Adeyinka Adekoya, CEO of Wapic Insurance Plc

For nearly three years now, Mrs Adekoya has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Wapic Insurance Plc. She assumed the position in 2016. Prior to this time, the University of Lagos graduate had served as the General Manager of both Cornerstone Insurance Plc and Law Union & Rock Plc.

Mrs Rose Okwechime, the CEO of Abbey Mortgage Bank Plc

Appointed in 1992, Mrs Okwechime has been the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Abbey Mortgage Bank Plc for nearly thirty years. Prior to taking up the position, she worked in the banking industry for twenty four years, including stints at the Bank of England. She holds a master’s degree in Banking and Finance.

Mrs Ibukun Awosika, First Bank’s Chairman

Mrs. Ibukun Awosika is a 56-year old Ibadan-born business leader who graduated with a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the Obafemi Awolowo University.  She is also an alumnus of the IESE Business School, as well as the Lagos Business School.

Asides her position as the Chairman of FirstBank, Mrs. Awosika is also the Chief Executive Officer of The Chair Centre Group. She also sits on the boards of numerous other companies and NGOs.

Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Plc

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Mrs Bola Adesola, the Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank

Mrs. Bola Adesola is a graduate of the University of Buckingham, where she studied Law. She was called to the Nigerian bar in 1985.

She is also an alumna of the Harvard Business School, having undergone an Advanced Management Programme there. Mrs. Adesola also completed the Chief Executive Programme at the Lagos Business School.

Professionally, Mrs Adesola has garnered over 25 years of experience in the banking sector. Her career cuts across several financial institutions including Citibank Nigeria (a member of the Citigroup) where she worked for nearly ten years with executive roles in Nigeria and Tanzania.

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In March 2011, Mrs. Adesola was appointed as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Limited. As part of her role as the head of the bank, she has been utilising her exposure and experience in the banking industry to drive growth and lead the bank to success. Note that she is currently a Director also at the bank.

Funmi Omo, the CEO of African Alliance Plc

Funmi Omo is one of the few females occupying executive positions in the Nigerian corporate environment today. As the Chief Executive Officer of African Alliance Plc, it is her job to make strategic decisions that will position the company for growth.

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She studied Insurance at the University of Lagos, graduating in 1990 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree, even though she never planned to study Insurance. She admitted in an interview, that she had initially set out to study Accountancy, but was unable to meet the admission cut-off mark for that discipline, due to certain reasons. Fortunately, she ended up loving Insurance, despite her initial misgivings.

Mrs Funmilayo Omo has nearly 30 years of professional experience in the insurance industry, all of which happened at African Alliance Plc. Right after her National Service year, she got a job with the company in 1991 as an Assistant Superintendent.

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She quickly rose through the ranks, working a number of high profile jobs until she became the company’s Chief Executive Officer in May 2017; a position she has since held on to. Altogether, she has worked at African Alliance Insurance Plc for almost thirty years. And she seemed determined to turn things around for the better, especially now that it is her duty, as the CEO, to drive “overall corporate strategic goals and purpose to meet and exceed expectations of our different stakeholders.”

Unity Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Tomi Somefun

Mrs. Somefun was a student of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, graduating in 1981 with a Bachelor of Education in English language. Although she was never a trained accountant nor economist, she went on to acquire other important professional certifications after her university days. Today, she is a prominent Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

Having undergone graduate studies at both the Harvard Business School and University of Columbia Business School, Mrs. Somefun is an alumnus of both prestigious American institutions of study. In the same vein, she has participated in quite a number of local and international training programmes which are specific to her banking profession. An example of such is the INSEAD Fontainebleau, in France.

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Mrs Tomi Somefun, the CEO of Unity Bank Plc

Mrs. Somefun is a modern Nigerian woman who has successfully maintained a professional career spanning at least thirty-three years. Note that while most of these years of experience have been in the financial sector, she also has experiences cutting across other sectors.

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In her early days, she started out working at KPMG as a Senior Audit Assistant between 1982 and 1986. From there, she went on to work at Arthur Andersen in 1986 as a Senior Auditor. She has also been employed at Ventures & Trusts Limited, between 1989 and 1992, as an Associate.

Prior to her current appointment, Mrs Somefun held many high profile positions in other reputable companies such Credit Bank Limited and UBA Plc. She was also the MD/CEO of UBA Capital & Trustee Limited and the Founding Managing Director of UBA Pension Custodian Limited: two of UBA Group’s major subsidiaries.

Mrs Folorunsho Alakija, the Executive Vice Chairman of Famfa Oil Limited

Recent ranking by Forbes Magazine lists Mrs Folorunsho as the richest woman in Nigeria and second richest in the whole of Africa. With an estimated net worth of $1.1 billion, she is second only to Angola’s Isabel Dos Santos who has net worth of $2.3 billion.

Mrs Folorunsho was born on 15 July 1951. Like many other women, she started her career from the bottom, working as a secretary at a Lagos-based company in 1974. She later dabbled into banking, before establishing her first company called Supreme Stitches. She ended up becoming an oil magnate. And today, we know her as one of the richest women in the world.

Nigerians occupy top spots on Forbes Magazine's wealthiest African billionaires' list - Folorunsho Alakija

Folorunsho Alakija

These are definitely not all the Nigerian women making waves in the Nigerian corporate environment. But for the sake of time and space, these are the ones that can be mentioned here. Nairametrics celebrate with all the woman, wishing them more success in all their current and future endeavours.

Patricia
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Currencies

Exchange rate falls across forex markets as dollar liquidity remains low

The Naira depreciated against the dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window on Tuesday.

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Nigeria’s exchange rate at the NAFEX window depreciated to N389 during intraday trading on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. In a similar situation, the exchange rate at the parallel market depreciated marginally on Tuesday as well to close at N474/$1 and as high as N480/$1.

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Parallel Market: At the black market where forex is traded unofficially, the Naira depreciated against the dollar to close at N474/$1 on Tuesday, according to information from Abokifx, a prominent FX tracking website. This represents a N1 drop when compared to the N473/$1 that it exchanged on Monday, August 3. However, Nairametrics forex tracker obtained a price of N480/$1 from some traders who we also source information from.

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NAFEX: The Naira depreciated against the dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window on Tuesday, closing at N389/$1. This represents a N1 drop when compared to the N388 rate close that was reported on the last trading day, Monday, August 3.  The opening indicative rate was N388.46 to a dollar on Tuesday. This represents a 13 kobo drop when compared to the N388.33 to a dollar that was recorded on Monday.

The Naira fell to as high as N392.50 during intraday trading before strengthening to the closed rate of N389. It also sold for as low as N380/$1 during intraday trading. Forex is sold at several prices and different times during the day.

Forex Turnover: Meanwhile, forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window recorded an increase on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, as it rose by 43.12% day on day. According to the data tracked by Nairametrics from FMDQ, forex turnover increased from $17.23 million on Monday, August 3, 2020, to $24.66 million on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. Despite the increase, the volume is a far cry from the average of over $200 million that was recorded in January 2020.

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The average forex sale for last week was a low volume of about $32 million which is slightly better than the $27 million that was recorded the previous week. FX turnover which was not impressive last week has not shown any sign of recovery despite the picking up of business activities after the 2-day Sallah holiday.

Total forex trading at the NAFEX window in the month of July was $937 million compared to $875 million in June.

The exchange rate disparity between the official NAFEX rate and the black-market rate remained wide on Monday staying as wide as N85. Nigeria maintains multiple exchange rates comprising the CBN official rate, the BDC rates, SMIS, and the NAFEX (I&E window).

Exchange rate unification remains on the cards and yet to be implemented weeks after the central bank governor confirmed it will be executed.

COVID-19 Pressures

Nigeria’s airspace remains closed to commercial international flight operations and won’t be open till October 2020. Foreign travel has often been a source of demand for the greenback.

  • The recent demand for dollars at the parallel market is thought to be fueled by speculators.
  • The parallel market also caters to forex trades through wire transfers especially for buyers who cannot fulfil their dollar demands at the I&E window or the SMIS window.
  • The exchange rate for wired transfer is often at a premium to the black market rate.

Forex Challenges: Last few weeks have been most challenging for the foreign exchange market as it witnessed very low liquidity. The downward slide against the greenback and some other major currencies continued this week due to tightened liquidity in the system.

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According to a report from FSDH research, forex inflows into the I&E window had dropped significantly in the second quarter of 2020 on the back of lower foreign portfolio inflows. Although there was a slight improvement in the month of July, the turnover of $937 million is a far cry from the $3.7 billion turnover that was recorded in the month of March before the lockdown which was triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The low oil prices have constrained the CBN’s capacity to intervene further in the foreign exchange market as dollar inflow still remains very low.

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Business

How to access CBN’s Health Research & Development grant

The Scheme shall be funded from the Developmental Component of MSMEDF.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has issued the guideline for accessing the Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme (HSRDIS) grant.

The grant, which is part of the apex bank’s policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is designed to help strengthen the public healthcare system with innovative financing of research and development (R&D) in new and improved drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics of infectious diseases in Nigeria.

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The guideline was published on the CBN’s website on Tuesday.

READ MORE: FG to reduce raw materials import by N3trillion

Why it matters: HSRDIS is designed to trigger intense national R&D activities to develop a Nigerian vaccine, drugs and herbal medicines against the spread of COVID-19 and any other communicable or non-communicable diseases. This would be done through the provision of grants to biotechnological and pharmaceutical companies, institutions, researchers, and research institutes.

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Who is eligible: Activities eligible for consideration under the Scheme shall include:

  • Research and development of candidate drugs, herbal medicines, and vaccines validated by relevant health authorities for the control, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
  • Manufacturing of drugs, herbal medicines and vaccines validated by relevant health authorities for the control, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
  • Red biotechnological R&D in new health technology for the control, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
  • The research partnership between academia and industry into the development of drugs and vaccines for the control, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
  • Research and development into validated phytomedicines for the control, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.

READ ALSO: Hyundai partners Kia to invest €100m in electric vehicles 

Important Notice: Candidate vaccines undergoing pre-clinical testing or trials shall not be eligible for consideration under this Scheme. However, candidate vaccines 4 Classified as Confidential undergoing clinical testing or trials shall be eligible for consideration under the Scheme if considered to have high potential to cross the clinical trial stage and prospects of scale by the Body of Experts (BoE).

Who funds the grant: The Scheme shall be funded from the Developmental Component of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund (MSMEDF).

READ MORE: Chinese company discloses investment plan for Nigeria 

Grant Limit:

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  • Research activities: Maximum of N50.0 million.
  • Development/Manufacturing activities: Maximum of N500.0 million.

NOTE: Disbursement under the Scheme shall be made to beneficiaries in tranches, subject to approved milestones achieved.

Research and Development Timeframe

  • research activities: Not more than two (2) years from the date of release of fund.
  • Development/Manufacturing activities: Not more than one (1) year from the date of release of fund.

Read the full guidelines here.

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Business

Nigerian firms expect to start employing again in August – CBN survey

Wholesale/retail trade had the highest prospect for employment in August.

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After a trying five months of the Coronavirus pandemic and the consequent challenges for the economy, business enterprises in Nigeria expect to start employing again in the month of August 2020.

This is according to the CBN Business Expectation Survey which was published recently on the CBN website.

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Findings from the survey show a generally optimistic outlook for August with a confidence index of 33.7 points, and hopes that the volume of business activities would increase in the next 2 to 6 months to justify the employment outlook.

READ MORE: Social clubs, recreational centres to reopen August 14

The business survey was conducted by the statistics department of the Central Bank of Nigeria in July 2020, and it involved a sample of 1050 businesses with a 96% response rate. Respondent firms include small, medium and large businesses cut across agriculture, services, manufacturing, wholesale/retail trade, and construction sectors, both import and export-oriented, across the country.

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Sector by sector breakdown showed that wholesale/retail trade had the highest prospect for employment in August with an index of 16.4 points, while manufacturing trailed closely behind with 14.6 points. Respondent firms in Agric/services put the employment prospect index at 3.1 points.

READ MORE: Okonjo-Iweala gets Organised private sector’s endorsement for WTO job

The wholesale/retail trade sector is also highly optimistic on expansion plans, showing an index of 46.3 points, while the construction sector had an index of 45.0 points. Agric/services sector had an index of 43.4 and manufacturing sector had 39.7 points all pointing towards a positive disposition to expand in the current month (August).

With such expansion plans in view, borrowing rate is also expected to increase in August, September, and December 2020 with confidence indices of 10.5, 15.7 and 16.1 points respectively.

READ MORE: CBN lists major constraints affecting businesses, as borrowing rates projected to rise 

This is in spite of the obvious challenges which the firms face, which include insufficient power supply, competition, unfavourable economic climate, financial problems, and high-interest rates.

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Unclear economic laws, unfavourable political climate, insufficient demand, difficulties in accessing credit and equipment also pose major constraints to business activities.

READ MORE: Again, NAICOM shifts insurance recapitalisation deadline

More on the outlooks

On the exchange rate, firms are positive that the Naira will appreciate in August, September, and December, with 3.0, 16.5 and 49.4 confidence index points respectively. Meanwhile, inflation level is expected to rise in the next 6 to 12 months (December 2020 and June 2021), at 13.92 and 13.95 percent.

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There is an anticipated increase in economic conditions in August at 22.8 points, much higher than the 9.5 points in July. The firms also expect things to improve more in September and December with confidence of 31.7 and 51.4 points.

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