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Background

Shamsudeen Usman was born on the 18 September 1949  in Warure Quarters of Kano State. His father, an Islamic scholar, died when he was about six years old. He began his education at Dandago Primary School. After attending secondary school at the prestigious Government College Keffi and King’s College, Lagos, he gained a BSc. in Economics from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria. He later won a National scholarship to study for his MSc. and Ph.D. at the London School of Economics and Political Science between 1977 and 1980. His Ph.D. was on “Tax Incentives and Investment in the Nigerian Oil Industry.” During his first two years at the London School of Economics, he served as a teaching assistant for the final year class in Public Finance.
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Early career

From 1974 to 1976, Usman worked as the Planning Officer for the Kano State Ministry of Economic Planning. He taught Economic Analysis and Public Finance at Ahmadu Bello University, Bayero University Kano and the University of Jos between 1976 and 1981. He was a controller at the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB) and then served as the Director of Budget/Special Economic Adviser to the Kano State Government between 1981 and 1983. He was then appointed the General manager of NAL Merchant Bank (currently Sterling Bank). Banking Usman was head-hunted to become the executive director of United Bank for Africa in charge of the International and Investments Sector in 1992. This included direct supervision of the New York Branch. Subsequently, he was appointed by Union Bank of Nigeria in 1993 as executive director and head of Corporate and International Banking. His time at Union Bank was short-lived as NAL Merchant Bank recruited him as managing director and chief executive officer in 1994, a post that he held for over five years. He was also a member of the Committee on Vision 2010. On the return to democracy in Nigeria in 1999, he was appointed as the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in charge of Domestic Monetary and Banking Policy, later named Financial Sector Surveillance. He was also responsible for heading Project Eagles, the CBN’s reform programme, responsible for converting the organization into one of the most efficient, effective and goal-focused institutions in Nigeria. From January 2004 to June 2007 he was the Deputy Governor in charge of Operations Directorate in charge of the Operations Directorate. From 2005, he served as Chairman and then Alternate Chairman of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Limited (NSPMC) also known as “the Mint”. In this role, he oversaw the introduction of N500 and N1000 notes and the reorganization of the Mint into a more profitable company with greater operating efficiency. He has served as the Chairman of the Abuja Stock Exchange, Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) and Financial Institutions Training Centre. He is also a fellow of the Nigerian Economic Society(NES) and has also served as President of the Society between 1986 and 1987. He was also a board member of the African Economic Research Consortium and the African Export-Import Bank.
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Ministerial career

Usman was appointed as the Minister of Finance of Nigeria from May 2007 to January 2009. In this role, he served as the head of the Economic Management Team and as the Vice Chairman of the National Council on Privatisation. Usman introduced a system of performance-based budgeting and pursued various economic reforms such as reducing the average Nigerian Ports Clearing time from approximately 2 months to approximately 14 days during his tenure; increasing the capitalization, trust and effectiveness of the insurance sector together with pursuing the implementation of the Insurance Act; cancellation of illegal waivers and concessions which led to revenue leakages of over $2 billion; reducing Nigeria’s external debt, and easing customs charges and capital market charges for operators to promote a vibrant and hassle-free environment for investment in the economy. In preparing the 2007 (appropriation), 2008 (appropriation) and 2009 budgets, Usman also introduced a system of budgeting based on Medium Term Development Plans as opposed to misguided annual budgeting which showed coherency with respect to national development plans in succeeding years, as was done in the past. He was also responsible for supervising the Monitoring and Implementation of these National Development Plans, the European Development Fund (EDF) Country Strategy Paper (CSP) and the National Indicative Programme (NIP). As the Minister of National Planning, he also oversees the National Bureau of Statistics, the Centre for Management and Development and the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER). He was mentioned by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as one of the major individuals that made a tremendous impact on the Nigerian economy and their contributions at that moment would help alleviate the current economic recession. He was a member of the Presidential Steering Committee on the global financial crisis.
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Awards

  • ThisDay Minister of the Year 2007
  • Vanguard Banker’s Award: Banking Icon
  • Honorary Fellow, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN)
  • ThisDay Tomorrow’s 50 Leaders (2004)
  • Fellow, Nigerian Economic Society
  • 3rd place National Winner John F. Kennedy Essay Competition (1969)
  • Fellow, Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria

Philanthropy

Usman is the chairman and one of the founding members of the Kano Peace and Development Initiative (KAPEDI), a group of concerned indigenes of Kano State driven to rebuild peace and the economic well-being of Kano State, especially after the religious conflict in 2004. He also started Gidauniyar Alheri, an NGO in the Garangamawa area of Kano city that provides human resource development training to youth and carries out other charitable activities in the state. He is currently the CEO of SUSMAN & Associates, an economic, financial and management consulting firm headquartered in Nigeria. He was the Finance Minister of Nigeria between June 2007 and January 2009 and also served as the Minister of National Planning from January 2009 to September 2013. He was the first Nigerian Minister to publicly declare his assets before assuming office as a public officer, an act considered a sign of accountability and transparency in a country noted for its high levels of corruption. Reference  weforum.org CBN Linkedin wikipedia.org Featured Image Source: Punch Newspapers
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This article was first published on 30th April 2022

jeremiah

Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.


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