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Zacch Adedeji: Tinubu special adviser on revenue, a round peg in round hole

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Thursday appointed eight think tanks to assist in the realization of his renewed hope agenda towards breathing new life into the economy and the security of the citizens.

One of the men and women appointed is Zacch Adedeji, an industrious, brilliant, vibrant, result-oriented, and accomplished professional who was, prior to his appointment, the Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council.

When Adedeji was appointed as the fifth substantive Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council in March 2021 by former President Muhammadu Buhari, stakeholders in the sugar sector hailed the appointment as one that would redefine the growth and development of the sugar industry.

For over two years, he has worked towards Nigeria’s drive to attain self-sufficiency in sugar production through faithful implementation of the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan (NSMP).

He assumed leadership of the Council with a proven track record of over 15 years of hands-on executive experience (+16 years as a qualified chartered accountant) in strategy, accounting and financial management, financial analysis and reporting, internal controls, change management, and people management.

Before his appointment as the Sugar Council boss, Adedeji had demonstrated capacity for service delivery when he worked as one of the youngest commissioners in Nigeria.

In 2011, barely seven months after his 33rd birthday, he was appointed Commissioner for Finance in Oyo State, becoming the youngest person to have occupied such a position. This was after he had attained a managerial position a few years earlier after working with an American multinational company, Procter and Gamble (P & G). To date, he is one of the most sought-after in the state and beyond.

He is a first-class graduate of management and accounting from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and later bagged a Master of Science degree in accounting from the same university. Zacch is currently a doctoral student at the same university. His insatiable quest for knowledge took him to the famous Harvard Kennedy School of Government in the United States of America for an Executive Course in Economic Development.

Adedeji’s long sojourn in the private sector and a four-year stint as the Commissioner for Finance in Oyo State between 2011 and 2015, with performance records and achievements, have undoubtedly prepared him for the onerous task of providing the needed leadership required for Nigeria’s revenue management. The government is in dire need of improved revenue mobilization to match the high debt stock of the nation.

He held a number of senior management positions while working at the Procter & Gamble Company (P&G), a renowned American multinational consumer goods corporation headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America, with branches across several countries.

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He was General Accounting and Stewardship Manager between January 2004 and May 2006, where he led a cross-functional team to prepare and report financial statements regionally and globally through a consolidated data entry tool.

Adedeji’s culture of hard work and knack for professional excellence earned him a higher position at P&G with his elevation as the Finance Leader-SAP (Systems Applications and Products) Implementation Project. He spearheaded the day-to-day evaluation and implementation of SAP modules and also led a 15-person finance team to develop the internal processes for the rollout of SAP West Africa in line with the project’s prerequisites.

He later rose to the position of Corporate Finance Manager (West Africa), overseeing Treasury, Corporate/Affiliate Accounting, AP, and Tax at Procter and Gamble between August 2007 and May 2011.

While in the saddle as the Commissioner for Finance in Oyo State, he introduced a number of brilliant, forward-thinking, revenue-boosting, and cost-saving reforms that pushed up the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state, plugged financial leakages, introduced best financial practices, and led to a general financial turnaround, among other innovations.

Adedeji, a Fellow of Chartered Accountants (FCA), is also a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN).

Immediately after he took over at NSDC, Zacch hit the ground running with a series of programs to reposition the sugar sector, as encapsulated in the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan.

In driving the growth and development of the sector, he has, within a space of 26 months, implemented a series of programs that have attracted huge investments into the sugar industry and positioned the sector as an avenue for job creation and poverty reduction.

In an interview, he described his over two-year journey at the NSDC as memorable, challenging, and very rewarding.

Adedeji said, “The sugar sector is without doubt a very crucial sector to the Nigerian economy, especially in line with the economic diversification agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government. More than anything else, we at the Council are ready and have put in place all the necessary policies, measures, programs, and strategies to maximally harness all the potential in the sector in the overall interest of our dear country.

“So, the journey has been an eye-opening experience, particularly for me and members of my management team.” We are determined to achieve our mandate as an agency of the government, which is to regulate and develop the sugar sector for national prosperity.

“I inherited an organization that is both forward-thinking and very determined in the pursuit of its defined mandate and corporate objectives. I’m lucky to meet members of staff who are so dedicated, disciplined, and committed to work, thereby making the whole environment friendlier and livelier than I thought.”

(omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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