Yuguda as the square peg at SEC By Dahiru Hassan Kera




Nigeria’s apex capital market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), is set to witness a new dawn, exiting a two-year cul-de-sac and uncertainties surrounding its leadership after the former Director General of the Commission, Mr Munir Gwarzo, was suspended by former Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun.

However, a new lease of life is being injected into the commission, following last week’s appointment of a quintessential technocrat, Mr Lamido Yuguda, as the new substantive Director General of SEC by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Yugudu’s appointment ends the tenure of Acting DG, Mary Uduk. In a letter read by the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, during plenary in Abuja on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, Buhari requested the  upper chamber to ratify the appointment of Lamido Yuguda as SEC’s new DG. 
Also to be confirmed are three nominees as full-time commissioners for the commission. They are Reginald C. Karawusa, Ibrahim D. Boyi and Mr. Obisan T. Joseph.Buhari’s letter reads in part: “Pursuant to Section 3 and 5(1) of the Investment and Securities Act 2007, I write to request for confirmation by the Senate, the appointment of the following four nominees as Director General and Commissioners of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).”

It’s without a doubt that Buhari’s choice of Dr. Yuguda could not have been better, considering the new DG’s intimidating and enviable pedigree; he is an economist, banker and investment manager, with over 30 years’ experience in financial services.
Yuguda began his career with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 1984, shortly after he graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He was employed as a senior supervisor of the foreign operations department, which manages Nigeria’s external debt records. In 1985, he moved to the banking supervision department and had the task of handling bank licensing and prudential regulations.

In 1988, another in-house reshuffling exercise took him to the Debt Conversion Committee Secretariat to manage the Nigerian Debt Conversion Programme together with the pioneer staff in the secretariat. He moved back to the foreign operations department in 1992, and soon after became the Senior Manager of the Investment Office.
Again, his responsibilities included managing Nigeria’s external debt service, as well as managing the investment of the CBN’s external reserves in a liquid portfolio of cash, fixed-term deposits, and foreign government treasury bills.

Following a secondment, he joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC, the USA in 1997, as an economist in the Africa Department. In this position, Yuguda assessed the economic policies and management of balance of payment support programmes in IMF member countries.
In 2001, he returned to the CBN to lead a team of staff to restructure and diversify the CBN’s growing FOREX reserve portfolio. Together with this team, a new investment policy was adopted with the introduction of new asset classes, the appointment of a reputable global custodian and asset managers. Yuguda successfully upgraded the CBN’s in-house fixed-income trading and settlement capabilities and left a state-of-the-art portfolio management system as his legacy. 

By 2010, he became Director of the Reserve Management Department. He is credited with the strong risk-aware investment culture in the department, and also instilled a disciplined approach to investment evaluation.After 32 years at the apex bank, he voluntarily retired in 2016. He has been a member of the Board of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and will now resume as its DG. 

Lamido Yuguda obtained a B.Sc in Accounting in 1983 from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and an M.Soc.Sc in Money, Banking and Finance in 1991 from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. He also holds a Certificate in Financial Asset Management and Engineering from the Swiss Finance Institute, Geneva, Switzerland.
 

Yuguda has attended leadership training programmes at leading business schools including Harvard, INSEAD, IMD, Saïd, Wharton, Haas, and London. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Account. 
Yuguda was a member of Governor Inuwa Yahaya’s Transition Committee at his home state of Gombe. He served as the Chairman, Finance and Economic Development Committee.

Interestingly, Yuguda is taking over the mantle of leadership of the Securities and Exchange Commission at a time when the global economy, including that of Nigeria, is facing its worst recession in contemporary times, no thanks to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, currently ravaging the entire world with virtually all economies on a lockdown.
Nigeria’s case is particularly worrisome as the coronavirus pandemic has caused a sharp fall in crude oil prices, the nation’s cash cow, to as low as $10 per barrel, necessitating a drastic cut of the 2020 national budget.
Yuguda is, therefore, expected to bring his vast experience to bear in repositioning the nation’s economy in which SEC has a pivotal role to play, especially in the diversification drive away from its current mono-economic dependence on crude oil to agriculture, solid mineral, tourism, among others. 

This writer strongly believes that Dr. Yuguda not only possesses the wherewithal to help President Buhari in his quest to turn around Nigeria’s economy but also has the pedigree and political will and commitment as well as the high integrity required to rebuild the nation’s economy.
I, therefore, commend Mr President’s choice of Yuguda and wish the new SEC DG a successful and eventful tenure as he replicates his Midas touch at SEC, drawing from the Central Bank of Nigeria where as Director of the Reserve Management Department from 2010 to 2016, he inculcated a strong risk-aware investment culture and engendered a disciplined approach to investment evaluation.
Kera writes from Kaduna via [email protected]

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