NIGERIA’S TOP10 CEOs OF THE YEAR
Fiscal 2016 has gone down in records as one of the most difficult years in the world’s history. Hardly was there any nation that didn’t taste the admixture of fret and frustration that globalization and integration transmitted to every corner of the global society in 2016.
The storm met Nigeria quite unprepared and left it one of the worst hit. The nation’s production and consumption functions froze in the absence of adequate buffers to propel the economy in the face of revenue failure. Monetary policy needed to be kept stringent and fiscal intervention failed for lack of fiscal space.
Capital market windows stayed shut for new money and bank lending suffered from serious liquidity squeeze. Depreciation of the naira jerked up domestic prices to the roofs; huge exchange losses and high interest expenses gulped revenues and produced huge losses for many companies.
Hurdles all the way
The nation’s economy proceeded from a slowdown to a decline in the year and companies and institutions faced serious problems on both sides of producing and selling. Consumer spending weakened further, as domestic prices soared; unpaid salaries mounted and job losses persisted. These developments and their multiplier effects hurt operating capacities and diminished business opportunities across various sectors and industries.
On the production side, the massive depreciation of the naira altered cost-income ratios, which punctured productive operations. In many cases, increased production costs could not be passed on to consumers and this eroded margins and undermined earnings capacity. Companies and institutions with foreign currency denominated obligations suddenly found their operations unsustainable. Those heavily dependent on imported raw materials faced sudden cost increases that hit back on cash flow.
Tested by adversity
Yet out of the storm can be counted a good number of people who moved against the tide in various fields of their calling to inject counter cyclical forces to the nation’s economy. Every economy moves in unending cycles of rise and decline but a good management maintains stable growth across the up and down movements in the economy. How good is management is best tested in periods of adversity when able people engage new strategies and innovations that ensure stability amid volatility.
Top 10 CEOs of the year, 2016 are chief executives across public and private sectors who demonstrated extra-ordinary ability to move their institutions ahead in defiance of the operating challenges created by the faltering domestic and global economies that prevailed in 2016. Necessity is the universally acknowledged mother of invention and so the CEOs, who led the way to reinventing businesses and systems by breaking new grounds of innovation to deliver on mandate in the hostile environment of the year, are worthy of special honour in the hall of fame.
What makes a winner?
An effective therapy for economic crisis has always been for able people with great ideas to stand up and do something. Nigeria’s hopes for ending recession and resuming growth in 2017 depend on the weight of counter cyclical actions and responses building up on the economic frontline. The cycles of growth and decline happen in an economy because both boom and depression generate responses that bring them to an end and set a new trend in motion.
Most operators retreaded into shells of caution and only the courageous stepped out to chart the course of economic recovery. While many spent a long time last year lamenting over the difficulties, some others took steps to lead the way out of the storm towards a possible return of sunshine. By launching out in muddy waters, company managers are able to make important discoveries that enable them move ahead of the competition despite operating difficulties.
Action, not words
Top 10 CEOs of the year, 2016 are people found to be in the forefront of taking actions that directly and indirectly counter the declining trend in the economy and stimulate the forces of recovery and growth. Here are found leaders of companies and institutions that have embarked upon fundamental projects to reduce pressure on foreign exchange resources and raise internal capacity in their respective fields of operation. They include CEOs of companies that are leading the way to self sufficiency and dependence on local raw materials and products.
Heads of government institutions and departments that have intuited reforms aimed at strengthening revenue and rationalizing cost structures of government are also part of the list. CEOs building new operating capacities at a time of economic decline also have their hands on deck in the counter cyclical actions bringing recession to an end. So also are bank CEOs that defied the risk of generally rising credit losses and pumped stimulatory new money to key productive activities, including small-scale industry and entrepreneurship development efforts.