New Telegraph

Commodity Exchange: Why CBN swept out entire mgt

We retired in beautiful manner, says ex-CEO

Facts are beginning to emerge why the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the majority stakeholder in Nigerian Commodity Exchange (NCX), swept out the former Managing Director/CEO, Zaheera Baba-Ari, and the top management team. Investigations by this medium revealed that Ari was seen as a clog in CBN’s reforms initiated to revamp the comatose Exchange. Multiple sources conversant with happenings that culminated in the sacking of the former CEO and four senior officials told New Telegraph that Baba-Ari, who rose to the position of chief executive as pioneer staff of Exchange, was thwarting the apex bank bank’s reforms. Recall that the CBN on January 6, 2022, announced the dissolution of the executive management. In its place, CBN reconstituted a new board for the Exchange.

The new board is headed Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, as Chairman. A statement signed by the Acting Head, Corporate Communications, NCX, Mr. Abiodun Sanusi, noted that Dr. Angela Sere-Ejembi, who istheDirector, FinancialMarkets Department, Economic Policy Directorate, and Mr. Philip Yila Yusuf, who is also the Director, Development FinanceDepartmentbecame members of the board. CBN said the decisions were taken at an extraordinary general meeting held on Tuesday January 4, 2020.

“The Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX) hereby informs the public in line with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters act (CAMA) 2020, an extraordinary general meeting of the NCX held January 4 2022 at which all shareholders unanimously approved the retirement of Directors and the appointment of three new Directors, Mrs Aisha N Ahmad, Dr. Angela Sere- Ejembi and Mr. Philip Yila Yusuf.” It further added that “Mrs. Ahmad was subsequently appointed Chairman of the board at the inaugural board meeting, which also held on January 4, 2022. Additional board appointments will be made in due course.”

It statedthat the transition would be led by Mr. Elenwor Ihua, who would be acting as the Interim Coordinator until all the management positions are filled. One of the sources, an insiderwiththeExchange, who spoke to New Telegraph in confidence, said: “The CBN, if you recall, owns 60 per cent of the Exchange. Before CBN’sstrategicinterestinthe Commodity Exchange, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and Nigeria Investment Sovereign Authority (NSIA) had planned to privatise the Exchange. The management frustrated the effort. They hide relevant information needed by BPE and NSIA to carry through government’s divestment. “Given the renewed attention the current government is giving to agriculture sector and CBN interventions in agriculture value chain, CBN governor last year announced strategic intervention initiative in NCX.

“The importance of Exchange as a rally point to stabilise prices of food items can’t be left under the control of private Commodity Exchange. CBN governor announced major decisions on the Exchange. “The bank planned a N50 billion capital injection on the Exchange, it halted BPE planned sale of the Exchange and constituted a steering committee to bring it up to optimum operation,” the source said. Instead of keying into to CBN’s vision, Baba Ari, the source said was working at cross purpose. “She was not working

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