Roger Brown Steps in As CEO of SEPLAT

Roger Brown

Roger Brown, the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc resumed on August 1, 2020, following the retirement of the founding CEO, Austin Avuru.

Brown is expected to lead SEPLAT into the next phase of the company’s growth aspirations following the retirement of  the founding CEO Austin Avuru on July 31, 2020 after 10 years.

Brown joined SEPLAT in 2013 as the CFO and played a key role in the successful dual listing of the Company in 2014 on both the London and Nigerian Stock Exchanges. Similarly, since joining SEPLAT, he has played significant roles in various asset acquisitions by the Company as well as implementing the company’s financial business model.

Brown played critical roles in the company’s successful landmark deals, Initial Public Offering (IPO) and financial structure of debt and acquisitions, as well as increased returns to shareholders. He is very familiar with the local and global business environments and institutions. As the new CEO, he is expected to work towards reinforcing the company’s leading position in the Energy sector.

Brown brings to the CEO role, an extensive knowledge of the Company in his over 6 years as the CFO and a member of the Board. He has strong financial, commercial and Mergers and Acquisition (M&A) experience as well as proven people skills which will be an asset as the Company embarks on the next phase of its growth. One area of priority for SEPLAT is to ensure that liquidity and cash flow of the company remains strong and that the company’s balance sheet maintains its resilience and robustness.

Prior to joining SEPLAT, Brown was an advisor to the Company since 2010 while he was the Managing Director and head of EMEA Oil and Gas at Standard Bank Group. During his time at the bank, he was instrumental in providing advice and deploying capital across the African continent in the Oil & Gas, Power & Infrastructure and the renewable energy sectors.

SEPLAT’s new CEO is a qualified Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. The product of Belfast Royal Academy also holds MSc in Finance from University of Ulster; BSc (Hons) in Finance from University of Dundee. Brown joined Seplat and its board in July 2013, having previously been an advisor to the company since 2010, Roger set up the London office for the company prior to listing on the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges (Main Board).

During his time at the company he steered the business through extremely challenging times during low oil prices and an 18-month period when the business was not producing oil due to a shutdown of its main oil pipeline.

He also put in place a total of $1.75billion of financing which included an inaugural $350million Eurobond as well as bringing in a number of top tier banks into the syndicate.

SEPLAT in line with its forward looking plans positions itself for a next phase growth ambition which would see the expansion of its footprint in terms of energy business activities, pursue offshore assets as well as opportunity driven entry into different geographies.

SEPLAT corporate transition which saw Brown take over as CEO would require a different kind of organizational structure, people skills set and mentality to competitively position well in the expanded space.

In view of this development, SEPLAT will no doubt be reviewing its current organisational and systems structure. Already, the Board of Directors of SEPLAT appointed Emeka Onwuka as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Executive Director of the Company. He joined the Seplat Board on August 1, 2020.

The next stage which Brown leads as CEO requires a wide global business/transaction view requiring deep financial and capital markets knowledge and experience.


Zenith Beta Life”Promo To Reward Customers Debuts


In line with efforts at further enhancing  customer satisfaction and improved efficiency, Zenith Bank Plc, Friday, commenced its “Zenith Beta Life”Promo to reward customers of the Bank with gifts every week starting from 31st July 2020 to 30th July 2021.

During this period which spans a full calendar year,  fifty (50) customers will be selected via raffle draw each week and rewarded with gifts worth NGN30,000.

The Promo is open to existing and new Zenith Bank customers with the following raffle qualifying criteria: which includes maintaining a minimum deposit of NGN5,000 for the period; request and collection of a Zenith Bank Card; as well as the download and register on the Zenith Mobile App or register for *966# EazyBanking.

Zenith Bank Plc, recognised as one of the most customer-focused financial institutions in the country was voted the most customer-focused bank in Nigeria for the retail and SME segments in the 2018 KPMG Annual Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey (BICSS).

A clear leader in the digital space with several firsts in the deployment of innovative products, solutions and an assortment of alternative channels that ensure convenience, speed and safety of transactions, Zenith Bank has clearly distinguished itself in the Nigerian financial services industry through superior service quality, unique customer experience and sound financial indices.

In recognition of its track record of excellent performance, Zenith Bank was voted as the Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria 2019 by the World Finance and the Best Digital Bank in Nigeria 2019 by Agusto and Co. The Bank was also recognised as Bank of the Year and Best in Retail Banking at the 2019 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards.

More recently, the Bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria, for the third consecutive year, in the Banker Magazine “Top 500 Banking Brands 2020”, number one Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2020 Top 1000 World Banks” Ranking published by The Banker Magazine, Best Bank in Nigeria 2020 in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020, and Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020.

Manufacturers Express Worries Over Rising Gas Consumption Bill

    • Adam M. UkatuAdam M. Ukatu

    Manufacturers under the auspices of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) have called on the relevant authorities to ameliorate the plight of its members that are currently battling the increase in cost of gas as alternative source of power generation due to incessant power outage.

  • The National Chairman of Non Metallic Mining Group of MAN, Mr. Afam Mallinson Ukatu, who expressed concern over the increase in the price of gas regretted that this is coming when the global economy is facing challenge.Ukatu said; “The pandemic is not peculiar to Nigeria alone, it is ravaging the global economy, but I expected the government to give palliative to manufacturers to cushion the resultant effect of the pandemic instead of the commodity price going up.

    “We have been complaining that we are being charged in Dollar for consuming gas locally and nothing has been done to reverse the ugly trend. I have been complaining about this over the years at the parent organisation (MAN) for a very long time that the trend should be reversed and also for the government to look into it.

    “It is very painful that gas, which is gotten from our soil is being sold to us in US Dollars. We are being charged according to the exchange rates. Now that the exchange rate has gone, following the technical devaluation of the Naira, and scarcity of Forex, the increase has come again when we are asking for what palliative the government should give us to ameliorate our situation, and to enable us pay salaries, gas bills and offset some bill that accumulated during the lockdown. We were also looking at the government to give us some relief for one year or more, but what we are getting is increased gas price. This is not done in any part of the world, it is only in Nigeria that this is happening and it is quite unfortunate.’

    He pointed out that irrespective of the cost of production is going high, that cost of moving raw materials from mining site to the factory is extremely expensive due to in-accessible roads occasioned by the rainy season.

    Ukatu said that the current price of gas has pushed the cost of production up by over 30 over percent, stressing that they are losing huge amount on the daily bases.

    “In 2019, we were advised not to pay the actual gas bills that the government has given some incentives to some sectors like the textile sector. So we asked a question, why was textile the only considered sector while there are other sectors that are purely producing made in Nigeria goods which are neglected. However, as we speak, the textile sector has even gotten that discount. I am amazed that the government who is supposed to be encouraging us in other to employ more people is behaving this way. This is however a deterrent to intending investors,” he sressed.

    According to Dr. Micheal Adebayo, Chairman, Oil and Gas Sectoral Group of MAN, the sector is working in collaboration with the Federal Government to revert the payment of gas consumed locally from Dollar to Naira.

    Adebayo noted that the government has set up a committee to hamonise the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as gas pricing for local consumption has been included in the PIB.

    He pointed out that the delay experienced is to amend it once and for all, emphasizing that the bill is at the stage of becoming a legal document which would likely be passed into law and possibly implemented before the end of 2020.

    He said; “The government is working to make sure that gas is available for domestic consumption at all times and must be sold in Naira. Before the end of 2020, the PIB must have been implemented and once this is done, we would enjoy maximum benefit and the nation’s economy would experience boom, because more consumers of gas would emerge and gas would become more relevant to the Nigerian economy that oil.”

Engine Oil Adulteration: SON Secures Conviction Of Businessmen

Two businessmen,, Uche Johnson and Kingsley Meteke, were on Friday convicted by the Federal High Court in Lagos for  producing and distributing substandard engine oil.

Justice Oluremi Oguntoyibo convicted them after pleaded guilty to the offence.

She sentenced them to two years imprisonment each.

They admitted to have adulterated 128 drums and 9.45 litres of engine oil.

They were charged with four counts of production, possession, dealing in and distribution of substandard engine oil.

SON said the defendants indulged in production of engine oil which did not meet mandatory industrial standards.

The defendants claim that the products were good for public consumption and for optimum engine performance, were  viewed as false by prosecution.

The products were said to have failed to comply with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria’s (SON) Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP).

According to the prosecution, the offence contravened the provisions of sections 1(8) and 1(8)(II) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, 2004.

The defendants had initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, but later changed their plea to guilty.

The sentence will begin from January 27, 2019 when the defendants were arrested.

Prosecuting counsel Mr Joseph Olofindare said the judgment would serve as deterrent to manufacturers and importers of substandard products.

He said: “I want to tell genuine manufacturers and consumers that they should not be despondent or complacent. SON is there to prosecute any offender.

“It’s a judgment that will send a message to the public that SON is working tirelessly under the leadership of Osita Aboloma.

“If you’re an importer or manufacturer, you either bring products that are certified under Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) and SON Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) otherwise the fate that befell these individuals will also befall those who are indulging in product adulteration.

“For our consumers, the Director General and management are working tirelessly to ensure that consumers get value for their money and that only standard and certified products are in the market.”

Airtel Africa, Mukuru Partner To Ease Cross-Border Money Transfers Within Africa


Airtel Africa plc [Airtel Africa], a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services in 14 countries across sub-Saharan Africa and Mukuru, one of Africa’s largest remittance organisations, today announced a partnership which will enable Mukuru customers to instantly send cross-border transfers directly to Airtel Money customer wallets in 12 African countries.

This partnership will be particularly beneficial for customers making intra-Africa payments from Southern Africa where Mukuru has a leading presence. Customers also benefit from no longer having to physically go to an Agent to receive cross-border payments. Once Airtel Money customers receive the funds, they can be used to pay utility bills, goods and services, transferred to family or can be cashed out at any of Airtel Africa’s exclusive branches, kiosks and agents.

Raghunath Mandava, CEO, Airtel Africa, commented “This partnership empowers those without a bank account to be included in the formal financial ecosystem and to move money conveniently, seamlessly and securely. At a time when intra-Africa cross-border payments are of strategic importance, we are pleased to be working together on cross-country mobile money transfers, while also supporting local economies.”

Andy Jury, CEO, Mukuru, confirms, “This partnership exemplifies the collaborative spirit in which Mukuru is engaging with other industry leaders to provide universal access to cash and digital financial services across the continent. The enablement of digital money transfers between Mukuru and Airtel Africa customers means we can offer greater choice to the hardworking diaspora when providing for their families back home. The freedom to choose the solution best befitting your personal circumstances is pivotal to true economic empowerment”

The partnership, subject to local regulatory approvals, will initially launch in Malawi, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It will then roll out to subsequent Airtel Money markets. 


Nigeria Customs Elevates 2,639 Officers


Zainab Ahmed
Zainab Ahmed

e Nigeria Customs Service Board (NCSB) at its 52nd Regular meeting approved the appointment of Five (5) Assistant Comptrollers General of Customs, promotion of 2,634 Officers, dismissal of One (1) ACG and compulsory retirement of another ACG.

Hon. Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and Chairman, NCS Board, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed who presided over the meeting said decisions taken during the meeting were meant to ginger and move the Service forward in-terms of manpower and operations.

The new Assistant Comptrollers General of Customs are:, ACG, Mohammed Boyi – Training and Coordination ACG, Adewale Adeniyi – Commandant C&SC Gwagwalada, ACG, Jack Ajoku – Strategic Research and Policy, ACG, Olakunle Oyeleke – Doctrine, Development and Administration and ACG, Emmanuel Edorhe – Zonal Coordinator, Zone ‘C’.

A statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customss, DC, Joseph Attah on behalf of the Comptrller General of the service, Col.Hameed Ali gave the breeakdown of the 2,634 Officers whose promotion have 1st January 2019 as effective date is as follows:-

 Deputy Comptrollers elevated to Comptrollers of Customs were 37, Assistant Comptrollers of Customs moved to Deputy Comptrollers were 110 , and Chief Superintendent of Customs to Assistant Comptrollers numbered 138

Also elevated were Superintendent of Customs to Chief Superintendent of Customs, 93 in number, as Deputy Superintendent of Customs moved to Superintendent of Customs were 93, just as Assistant Superintendent of Customs I elevated to Deputy Superintendent of Customs totalled 1224
Assistant Superintendent of Customs II thhat were moved up to Assistant Superintendent of Customs I equalled 475, while nspector of Customs promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Customs II stood at 464

205 out of the 2,634 are Support Staff who also enjoyed promotion to various ranks.

However, in line with the reform agenda, the Board took some disciplinary actions against two Senior Officers. ACG Aminu Dahiru was dismissed for act of serious misconduct while ACG Bashir Abubakar was compulsorily retired for act of negligence.

The Hon. Minister described the NCS as “Making Progress” and expressed the hope that the coming of the e-Customs will help improve NCS operations.

Ports Opetations: FG Approves $18m, N3.2bn Contract To Procure Scanners


    The Federal Government has approved the sum of $18.12 million and N3.255 billion contract for the supply and installation of three numbers Rapiscan mobile cargo scanners.

Mnister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed disclosed this Wednessday, while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the 9th virtual Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to Zainab, “Today at council we presented two memos, the first memo was for seeking council’s approval for the revision of a contract that was previously approved by council in 2018 for the supply and installation of three numbers Rapiscan mobile cargo scanner.

“These are large size cargo scanners that will be placed in Onne port, Port Harcourt port, and Tin Can port. They are scanners that can actually drive containers through.

” That will fasten cargo examination and reduce the need for the Customs to open containers and do the physical inspection as they are doing now that is causing us a lot of time as well as the loss of revenue.

“This contract is awarded to a company that is named Messrs Airwave limited and the contract is in the sum of $18.12 million of foreign component, there is also a local component of N3. 255 billion inclusive of five percent VAT.

“The review became necessary in order to accommodate VAT which was not included in the initial contract and also due to dispute that we had arising from exchange rate differential. So we have now a resolution and an understanding and FEC approval for this contract to go on.

“The scanners are designed to aid effective revenue collection, the features that will screen for narcotics, weapons and undeclared items, they can also dictate arms and ammunition, legal importation and possession of arms and Light Weapons in Nigeria.

” The presence of these scanners will obviate the need for physical examination of goods and fast track the trade business report. This contract is for the Nigeria Customs Service.

” The second memo we presented to council today is also the Nigerian Customs Service. It is for the design, construction, and supply of five numbers of fast ballistic reverie assault boats and five numbers patrol boats with all associated accessories in favour of Messre CY West African limited in the sum of N280, 992, 888,75 inclusive of 7.5 VAT.

“The Nigerian Customs Service needs these boats to enhance its operational efficiency and combat smuggling activities on our waterways. This will also significantly boost revenue collection and other core duties of the maritime unit of the Nigerian Customs Service” the minister stated.

Twitter Followership: Buhari Tops Other African leaders – BCW study

President Buhari
President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has emerged the most followed Sub-Saharan African leader on Twitter during the Covid-19 pandemic, reveals leading global communications agency Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW) on Tuesday, July 21.

The newly released BCW Twiplomacy study 2020, which focuses on how world leaders have tweeted during the coronavirus pandemic and how Twitter has tried to keep the chatter clean from disinformation reveals that President Buhari recorded 3.1 million followers ahead of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda’s 1.9 million followers. PMB’s Twitter follower growth within the period when Coronavirus emerged in Mid-March until June was 51 per cent.

Commenting on the outcome of the research, Chief Innovation Officer, BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe), Chad Latz said “It is therefore vital for world leaders to use channels like Twitter to reach out to their followers to spread critical health warnings and keep their followers abreast of the latest COVID-19-related information. As the pandemic abates in some countries, world leaders will find themselves with an expanded audience for future engagement.”

Group Managing Director CMC Connect BCW (the affiliate company of BCW in Nigeria); Yomi Badejo-Okusanya commended the BCW global network for the professionalism that culminated in the timely release of the study. “This report will encourage leaders who have been lagging behind to tap into opportunities provided by social media to communicate rightly by increasing their activities on the platforms to educate and inform their people. COVID 19 has changed many around the globe, and in Africa the need to communicate what the government is doing and saying shows some level of transparency”, he added.

The 2020 Twiplomacy edition reveals that governments and leaders of 189 countries had an official presence on the social network, representing 98 percent of the 193 UN member states. The leaders use Twitter to share critical coronavirus information and encourage their citizens to “stay home” and “stay safe.” Many leaders have been leading by example and updating their Twitter profiles, wearing a face mask and participating in the #SafeHands challenge. World leaders and diplomats also had to adapt to working from home and have been thrust into video conferences, making diplomacy truly digital.

  1. Globally, US President Donald Trump is still the most followed world leader with more than 81 million followers and counting, while the governments of four countries namely Laos, North Korea, Sao Tome and Principe and Turkmenistan do not have a Twitter presence.
FBN Holdings Charge Investors To Focus On Firms With Strong Fundamentals  

Tolu Oluwole FBNH
Tolu Oluwole FBNH

Investors in the Nigerian Capital Market have been advised  to invest in companies with strong fundamentals, sustainable growth and profitability to ensure enhanced returns on investment.

Tolu Oluwole, Head, Investor Relations of FBN Holdings (FBNH) Plc stated this at the Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN) virtual forum on Wednesday in Lagos.

Oluwole urged retail investors to go beyond speculative buying and invest in stocks with strong fundamentals, sound management and potentials for growth.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic and downturn in the stock market provide an opportunity for investors to cash-in.

According to him,  investing in good companirs like FBN Holdings at this critical period is key hedge for Investors against future uncertainty.

Oluwole noted that opportunities abound inin any  market downturn, urging investors to key into the present opportunities in the equities market.

“At this time of economic challenge, we have seen an increase in the domestic retail and institutional investors participation in the market,” he stated.

On the exit of foreign investors, Oluwole said they would soon find their way back to the market in a matter of time with strong business fundamentals.

In his presentation titled, ‘Financial media and engagement with Retail Investors’, he said there were a number of different investors with varied levels of interest in a company’s investment story.

He noted that while the majority of the audience have broadly similar requirements, there are subtle differences and it is critically important to ensure consistency in the messages to avoid misinterpretation.

He described retail investors as non-professional market participants who generally invest smaller amounts than larger institutional investors.

He also noted that individual investors were thought to be less knowledgeable, less disciplined, less skillful, and prone to behavioral and emotional decisions, saying that despite their lack of knowledge, the retail investment space was enormous with individuals.

He added that knowing and understanding potential investors was very crucial when presenting the equity story and consider having a fair balance of investor type, saying that Investor Relations (IR) plays a pivotal role in providing detail about the health of an organisation to a wide range of interested parties.

According to him, the information disseminated through IR not only projects the financial and operational strength of the organisation, but also enables a two-way relationship between the Company and its stakeholders.

“The increase in stakeholder interest from optimal Investor Relations will ultimately result in an increase in the market value of the organisation, as long as the company delivers on its operational performance, noting the environment.

“Company’s day-to-day interface include institutional and retail shareholders, bondholders, credit and equity analysts, the Exchange, and the financial media. The principal role is to manage interest from these audiences and ensure they are fully informed about the performance of the business as well as identifying potential issues to address proactively.

“Ultimately, the primary goal for IR is to improve the markets’ understanding of the company’s investment proposition, enhance investors’ confidence, attract capital, positively impact trading and reduce funding costs over the longer term.”

He added that the IR entails the ability to work closely with all areas of the business including: Finance, Risk Communications and various Operational teams.

“In FBNH, we have different type of investors and management has developed value in building capacities and highlighting the underlying investment proposition through channels to key stakeholders.

“We have got retail investors of 50.9 per cent and domestic institutional investors of 31.8 per cent , foreign institutional is 16.7 per cent and we engage in all inclusive engagement programme through timely information on our website, email to provide response in conjunction with the registrar, meetings with shareholders, among others,” he said.

Oluwole said  that FBNH had embraced digital approach in reaching out to its retail investor in conjuction with its registrar, amid COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have moved things away from physical meeting to virtual meetings and we must always keep our communication line open to engage with our investors,” he said.

He explained that the company in 2019, demonstrated management efficiency with NPL ratio of  about nine per cent.

He urged Capital Market Correspondents to continue to ensure good understanding of businesses in the financial community and bridge any perceived gap between businesses and the retail investor.

Oluwole said the media need to work together to deepen understanding and bridge the knowledge gap with emphasis on the capital market.

Airtel Africa Expands Network With WorldRemit For Instant Money Transfers Across Africa


Airtel Africa, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services in 14 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, is scaling up its operations with WorldRemit, the global digital money transfer service that operates in over 50 send countries to over 150 receive countries.

Building on the successful connection to Airtel Money services in DRC, Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi and Niger, customers can now also send to Airtel Money in Rwanda via WorldRemit.

WorldRemit will enable customers from across the globe to receive money into Airtel Money wallets. Users can visit or download the free mobile App; choose Mobile Money and Airtel as the operator, then follow the prompts. The diaspora living in more than 50 countries around the world can quickly and easily send money transfers at any time via WorldRemit to Airtel Money customers back home.

Andrew Stewart, Managing Director for Middle East & Africa, WorldRemit, said: “The connection to more Mobile Money accounts through Airtel Africa allows us to expand our payout network and options available to customers across the continent. It is really exciting and important to us that we continue to increase financial inclusion for our customers in Africa whilst delivering a fast, affordable and secure service.”

Raghunath Mandava, CEO, Airtel Africa, said: “We are committed to enhancing financial inclusion in the countries where we operate through building a huge infrastructure of cashing in and cashing out locations in the markets and increasing our distribution. This means that our customers can now receive fast digital payments via WorldRemit from around the world directly to their mobile phones, as well as access their funds at our exclusive kiosks and branches at their convenience.”

Airtel Money enables mobile money users to send local and international money transfers, make utility payments, pay merchants, save money in their mobile wallets, purchase airtime and access a range of mobile financial products.