Nigeria lost $4b to oil theft last year, says Elumelu
• UBA gets banking license in Dubai
Nigeria lost over $4 billion to oil thieves between January and September last year, said Chairman of Heirs Oil and Gas, Tony Elumelu.
Elumelu stated this when he delivered a lecture to members of Course 30 of the National Defence College on the theme, ‘Strategic Leadership: My Business Experience’, in Abuja, yesterday.
He described theft in the Niger Delta as a national challenge, saying: “We produce, sometimes, about 87,000 barrels per day, thieves take 50,000 per day. 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 alleged that oil thieves also use illicit cash to purchase arms and ammunition that pose threats to the collective existence of the Nigerian people.
An agitated Elumelu warned that Nigeria cannot continue in that trajectory. He also hinted that United Bank for Africa (UBA) has been granted a license to operate a bank in Dubai.
Speaking on 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 said: “We are the only African bank that has a deposit-taking license in all of USA. We have today UBA UK, we have UBA Paris and we just got a license for UBA in Dubai.”
He said the team that transformed Standard Trust Bank to today’s UBA 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.”
Elumelu said the team created their own three-tiers strategy for success by first making Crystal Bank “attractive to people.”
According to Elumelu: “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. 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.”