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Finance is the principal challenge in Nigeria – Wale Tinubu CEO, Oando

Posted on Thursday, 15 November 2012 17:07

The Africa Report: How do you retain and maintain talent in your organisation?

Wale Tinubu: Our employees are the most significant asset the company has to date. Our ability to grow and deliver on our corporate vision and goals hinges on the talented individuals who collectively work tirelessly to improve and execute on a daily basis. Oando is only as good as the employees she has, and therefore human capital is our business.

We constantly invest in creating a culture and atmosphere of a great place to work. The company has several mechanisms for developing, rewarding and engaging employees through our various learning and development initiatives, competitive total reward offerings, engaging work and stretch assignments, and recognising talent.

Over the years, we have evolved a leadership pipeline that systematically and continuously develops our people, moulding them into various types of leaders. We are proud to see individuals who started with the company as youth corps members now managing different aspects of the business. Right from the day they start here, employees are aware that they are the drivers of their own destinies and their growth within the organisation is a direct function of the quality of their contributions.

What three things would improve the business climate in Nigeria?

The principal challenge for businesses operating in Nigeria is the cost of securing the required financing to embark on growth programmes. Apart from financing, our two other major challenges in our operating environment are power supply deficit and inadequate transportation systems. Addressing both issues will considerably reduce the operating cost per unit for businesses in Nigeria.

The development of infrastructure would lead to increased consumption of energy from businesses and consumers, which ultimately benefits us by stimulating demand for our products in the Downstream and Midstream sectors.

How will the changing legal framework benefit companies such as Oando?

To a large extent the success of Oando’s diversification and expansion into the upstream sector has now positioned the company for the benefits of emerging legislation. Firstly, having a national oil company that will be professionally and commercially viable is a big step in the right direction. There are a lot of resources currently vested in NNPC [Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation], which are not being optimised due to the fact that it operates as a government entity. In many ways private entities can leverage on a very strong commercially driven national oil company to grow the industry, as with Brazil’s Petrobras.

Secondly, to encourage and support indigenous companies in creating and operating a platform that can compete effectively, the legislation is seeking to institute fiscal terms that favour these companies. In this regard, better tax rates will be applied when we develop upstream assets.

Thirdly, it’s clear in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that there should be preference in bid rounds and divestment for indigenous participation. It allows the indigenous firms to participate actively in the sale of assets in upstream industry and it is something we need to support.

What innovations has Oando recently brought to the retail gas segment?

Oando plans to encourage millions of low-income households to switch from harmful traditional cooking fuels to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). Nigeria is estimated to hold proven gas reserves well in excess of 187trn cubic feet and is ranked seventh in global production.

However, Nigeria’s gas consumption is put at an abysmal 178bn cubic feet. At Oando we are investing in the infrastructure that will help bridge the supply and logistic gaps, whilst making gas affordable and accessible. We have introduced the 3kg LPG cylinder project, known as O-Gas, for the low income group. These cylinders, which also double as a cooking stoves, offer a platform for a clean source of fuel for domestic cooking and heating; an alternative to charcoal and firewood fuels, which are responsible for 100,000 indoor air pollution related deaths●

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