The Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Mr. Tony Elumelu, has disclosed that Nigeria lost $4 billion worth of crude oil to thieves in the first nine months of 2021.
Among this, he stated, Heirs Oil and Gas lost 50,000 barrels of crude oil to thieves every day.
Elumelu who disclosed this in a lecture he delivered to members of Course 30 of the National Defence College on the theme, Strategic Leadership: My Business Experience, described oil theft in the Niger-Delta as a national challenge.
According to him, “we produce sometimes about 87,000 barrels per day, thieves take 50,000 per day and to me this requires a national seminar or dialogue.
“In my view it is one of the highest levels of threat to our country because it’s so much money in the hands of people who don’t pay tax, people we don’t regulate, the country is not safe. They do that to us; they do that to other operators also”.
He pointed out that Nigeria in the last three quarters of last year, January to September lost over $4 billion to thieves, “people who don’t pay tax” and they use the money realized from the oil heist to buy more lethal ammunition and posing threat to our corporate existence.
He explained that the activities of oil thieves “require strategic leadership to deal with issues like this within the country but the lesson there is resilience in leadership”.
Elumelu warned that Nigeria could “continue like this; our country will wake up to realities someday. We look forward to men and women in this room who will help remove this national disgrace and problems that we face”.
He also disclosed that United Bank for Africa (UBA) has been granted license to operate a bank in Dubai.
Recalling how big UBA has grown from when he led some young bankers to take over distressed Crystal bank transforming it to Standard Trust Bank and later acquiring UBA, Elumelu stated that “we are the only African bank that has deposit taking license in all of USA, we have today UBA UK, we have UBA, Paris and we just got license for UBA, in Dubai”.
He said the team that transformed Standard Trust Bank to UBA today wanted to make a statement that “out of Africa, out of Nigeria you can do businesses successfully, and can do business in various environments anywhere in the world, today that experiment or dream has come to life”.
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The team Elumelu said created their own three tiers strategy for success by first turning Crystal Bank “attractive to people so that people can enter the bank to bank. So, we did that, so we democratized banking”.
He continued: “We made sure that while some banks then were accepting N50,000 to open a current account, we dropped to N5,000 for corporate, personal N1,000, and in fact at some point we dropped to zero balance to open an account those things are happening today”.
The next step he said was the second-tier strategic intent for success which was to become one of the top 10 banks in the country. The final and the third-tier strategic intent was that they we wanted to become one of the top three banks in Nigeria, “and we worked hard towards it”.
According to him, “we started seeing people coming into the banking hall, we were measuring success by the number of people who came to transact and not necessarily the naira we were making and we were happy that people were coming”.
“We got to the third tier seven years after taking over Crystal bank then we said how do we now move to that number one position and that was what led us to the merger of Standard Trust Bank with UBA, we achieved that in a record time, less than 10 years”.