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Meet Ayo Gbeleyi who championed the largest intraday FDI of $1bn into Nigeria

Meet Ayo Gbeleyi who championed the largest intraday FDI of $1bn into Nigeria

Nigeria’s public and private enterprises are expected to witness a turnaround in the appointment of Ayodeji Ariyo Gbeleyi as the director general of the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), which comes at a time when calls for more public-private partnerships (PPP) are at their loudest.

The President Bola Tinubu government has committed to collaborating more with the private sector to bring about rapid infrastructure and economic growth in Africa’s most populous nation.

This is evident in the recent inauguration of the Presidential Economic Coordination Council (PECC) and the Economic Management Team Emergency Task Force (EET), which comprises the president, vice president, some ministers, and members of the organised private sector.

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Gbeleyi’s numerous leadership roles, especially in Advisory on Public Finance Management, Project Finance, Regulatory Cum Compliance Matters, PPP project structuring, negotiation, financing, and implementation across both the private and public sectors, put him in a vantage position to implement the privatisation and commercialization policies of the government, which are part of the core mandate of BPE.

As an ex-commissioner of finance in Lagos under former governor Babatunde Fashola between 2013 and 2015, he led the closure of one of the largest sub-national bonds in Africa for N87.5 billion and two tranches of the World Bank development policy operation $200 million concessionary facility each.

He was also instrumental in the French Development Agency’s 20-year tenor $100 million concessionary loan, the World Bank’s $42 million education intervention facility, and the upgrade of the state’s national long-term rating by Fitch Ratings to “AA+ (nga) with Stable Outlook.”

 “As the DG on PPP, he was saddled with the responsibility of driving government-to-business collaboration policy thrust for the acceleration of infrastructure delivery towards the actualization of the vision of making Lagos Africa’s model megacity.”

Prior to becoming the commissioner, Gbeleyi was the director-general of Lagos State’s Office of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), as well as the Special Adviser to the Governor on PPP.

As the DG on PPP, he was saddled with the responsibility of driving government-to-business collaboration policy thrust for the acceleration of infrastructure delivery towards the actualization of the vision of making Lagos Africa’s model megacity.

He was also a co-partner with African Advisors, a consultancy boutique with a focus on telecoms, infrastructure, and PPP advisory services, and currently serves as the managing partner of GA Capital Limited, a boutique financial advisory firm.

With over 30 years of post-qualification experience, Gbeleyi’s career encompasses a wide range of sectors, such as manufacturing, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), investment and commercial banking, project finance, telecommunications, infrastructure, and public administration.

His exceptional banking career saw him attain senior positions with cross-functional responsibilities. Gbeleyi was the pioneer and only chief treasury officer of Celtel Nigeria Limited, who led the company’s $1.1 billion project that won Euromoney’s project finance Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) Telecoms Deal of the Year in 2005.

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He was an integral part of the executive management team that increased Vmobile’s equity valuation from $460 million to over $1.6 billion in less than two years.

Gbeleyi championed on record till date the single largest intraday foreign direct investment (FDI) of $1 billion into Nigeria without any disruption to the market or creating a $/Naira rate volatility in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

This was possible through a circa 2006 investment transaction that resulted in the May 2006 acquisition of a 65 percent equity stake in Vmobile by Celtel International.

Gbeleyi’s academic and executive training spans globally recognised institutions, including the London Business School, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Lagos Business School.

A chartered accountant, Gbeleyi is a fellow of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), the Chartered Institute of Directors of Nigeria (CoID), and the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN).

He holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Navarra (IESE), Spain, and is a registered capital market operator with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Gbeleyi sits as chairman, non-eexecutive director, and member of many boards, some of which are Axa-Mansard Health Ltd. in West Africa, a subsidiary of the global Axa Insurance Group in France, and Northwest Quadrant Development Company Limited in Lekki Free Zone, among others.

In January 2022, former President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Ayo Gbeleyi as the Board Chairman of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), where he provided leadership and oversight, which placed the bank on the path of financial sustainability and growth towards fulfilling its core mandate of deepening the mortgage sector.

Two years later, President Bola Tinubu approved Gbeleyi’s appointment as the director-general of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), tasking him to bring his vast experience and competence to bear in this new role.

Gbeleyi and the mandate of the BPE

Gbeleyi’s leadership and financial expertise will no doubt be invaluable in his new role as the head of the BPE. Among the tasks expected of the tax expert are promoting a competitive private sector, ensuring social accountability, efficiently deploying public resources, and advancing corporate governance and fiduciary discipline in both the public and private sectors.

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Core mandates of BPE
The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) is an agency in Nigeria’s economic landscape. Established under the Public Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercialization) Act of 1999, the BPE is tasked with the implementation of policies and programmes related to the privatisation and commercialization of public enterprises.

Other objectives are: facilitating the sale of government-owned enterprises to private investors to enhance efficiency and productivity; restructuring public enterprises to operate as profit-oriented, commercially viable entities; and promoting and implementing sectoral reforms to create a conducive environment for private sector growth.

Under Gbeleyi, the BPE is also expected to provide technical and managerial advisory services to the government on matters relating to privatisation and commercialization and enhance the skills and knowledge of stakeholders involved in the reform process.

Since its inception, the BPE has played a critical role in transitioning several key sectors from public to private management, thereby fostering improved service delivery and economic growth.

The agency is also responsible for ensuring that privatised enterprises continue to adhere to agreed-upon terms and maintain standards that contribute to the overall economic development of the country.