Nigerian tycoon Tony Elumelu recommends private sector approach to unlocking the value of national assets

by MMC
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Nigerian businessman and influential figure in the country’s business landscape, Tony Elumelu, took center stage as the keynote speaker at the Public Asset Management Seminar organized by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) in Abuja.

Elumelu, Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) and leading entrepreneur, shared his in-depth thoughts on the key pillars crucial to MOFI’s mission to unlock value in Nigeria’s assets and businesses.

In his speech, the leading businessman highlighted the importance of leadership capacity, a culture of excellence, a high-performance environment, corporate governance, risk management and non-interference management as essential components of the strategic dynamics of MOFI. He stressed the need to anchor these pillars in MOFI’s approach to maximizing Nigeria’s wealth potential.

As one of Nigeria’s richest people, Elumelu’s influence extends beyond his duties at UBA, where he serves as chairman, and other entities like Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc and Heirs Holdings. His commitment to promoting entrepreneurship is evident through the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which has enabled over 10,000 African entrepreneurs to benefit from seed capital, training and mentoring.

Drawing parallels with successful global models, Elumelu highlighted the case of TEMASEK, the Singapore wealth management entity established in 1974. He stressed that effective management, strategic leadership and focus on key sectors have propelled TEMASEK’s assets from $300 million at its inception to an impressive $300 million. billion.

Elumelu advocated a similar approach in Nigeria, emphasizing that active management and engagement with portfolio companies, similar to a private equity firm, could generate significant value. Drawing on his own experiences, he outlined the transformation journey of Heirs Holdings Group, Transcorp Group and UBA, showcasing successful turnarounds and strategic expansions.

One notable example he cited was the transformation of a defunct Crystal Bank into Standard Trust Bank, which is now an integral part of UBA. UBA’s expansion into 20 African countries and internationally to the UK, France, UAE and USA has demonstrated once again the success of a visionary approach.

In the power sector, Elumelu highlighted Transcorp’s acquisition of the Ughelli Power Plant, which increased its generation capacity from 160 MW to 701 MW in four years, surpassing all post-privatization targets. Transcorp’s various investments, including in electricity, oil and gas, and hospitality, have highlighted the potential of private sector efficiency in driving profitability and prosperity.

Lauding the leadership of MOFI for adopting a private sector mentality, Elumelu stressed the need for long-term thinking, excellence and strong corporate governance. He concluded by expressing the readiness of Heirs Holdings Group to collaborate with MOFI to unlock the wealth and value inherent in Nigeria’s national assets and businesses.

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