Despite difficult trading conditions in 2008, First Aluminium Nigerian Plc made a trading profit of N35 million, compared to a trading loss of N140 million in 2007.
The Chairman of First Aluminium Group, Alhaji Sulaiman S. Bafa, said the trading profit is a substantial improvement on last year’s business operations and indicated how the manufacturing operations are fighting their way back to efficiency and profitability.
In his speech at the 49th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company in Port Harcourt, Baffa said the sales volume and turnover of the rolling mill of the company dropped by 8 per cent and 7 per cent respectively within the period under review. Production volume however increased by 4 per cent.
The chairman explained that all the divisions of the company including the head office contributed immensely to the marked improvement in reducing its cost base.
He explained that the company took several strategic decisions in 2008 that enhanced the company’s operations in the year under review. Such decision includes that all coils produced at the rolling mill should be sold by the rolling mill and not through Aluminium City as well as the closing down of the project side of the business.
He said though, it was an area that had unpredictable turnover due to low margins and high bad debt, the decision reduced sales turnover but more importantly improved its financial trading performance.
He, however, commended management’s decision to make provisions against the company’s many debts, which had impacted on the Aluminium City results by N92 million.
During 2008, Baffa said, the company had an estimated 10 per cent growth for coated coils as the construction industry continues to expand. According to him, this demand has been met last year by both the local suppliers and cheap imports.
“In July 2008, the cost of aluminium reached an all-time high of over $3,200 per tonne, making easy pickings for importers. This situation has since reversed with the LME value falling automatically as the world recession showed effect to under $1,500 tonne by the end of the year,” the chairman said.
He regretted that even though the board did not recommend dividend for the year, the company needed enough cash for future growth and to overcome the difficulties caused by the repeated gas and electrical power outages.
He expressed gratitude to the staff of the company and customers for their faith in and standing behind the company even in moment of economic challenges. He assured that management would continue to give the best quality and price to ensure growth in the business.
More Youths Engage In Artisanal Refining
As unemployment bites harder amidst rising cost of living, more youths in rural communities in Rivers State are now going into artisanal refining business to earn a living.
The Tide reliably gathered that some youths residing in Port Harcourt City were gradually moving to rural communities for bunkering business otherwise known as ‘kpo-fire’
Narrating his experience to The Tide, Mr Godwin Ibeneme who resides in Rumuekini in Akpor, said he was introduced into the kpor-fire business by his father.
Ibeneme, who hails from Ibaa/ Obelle area of Emohua Local Government Area, said his father compelled him to join other youths who were thriving in the business in the community.
“My father came to my house here in Rumuekini, and told me to come to the village, that other young men are making it through kpo-fire’ bunkering since I have lost my job.
“ I didn’t waste time to give it a trial, because I had really looked for what to do, since I lost my job at a fast-food company. Since then, I can tell you that I have been taking care of myself, unlike before when everything looked hopeless”, he explained.
The Tide also learnt that the kpo-fire’ business was currently thriving in Isiokpo axis of Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
A resident of the community who pleaded anonymity, told The Tide that there was a high level of discrimination in the business.
According to him, he decided to engage himself at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, to hustle for his daily bread, instead of staying idle.
The Tide recalls that the Federal Government had promised to build modular refineries in the Niger Delta region since 2019 as an alternative to illegal oil bunkering in the region as well as to create employment for the youth.
The Tide also reports that three years after the promise was made, nothing has been done in that regard.
Oyigbo Cassava Plant, Legacy Project -Akawor
The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Amb. Desmond Akawor, says the cassava plant project, being executed by the Rivers State Government in Oyigbo is a legacy project that will generate huge employment for Rivers people.
He said the project was well thought out and would stand the test of time to tackle unemployment as well as ensure food availability in the state.
Akawor made the remarks during an interaction with journalists at the weekend in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the cassava plant which was supposed to be executed by the previous administrations, was initially planned to be a joint venture between the state government and some organisations, but that the other partners did not pay their counterpart funding.
“The steps taken by the Wike-led administration to bring this project to life without the counterpart funding is commendable, because of the huge economic benefits it will give to the state.
“Many people have also been employed at the construction sites of flyovers being executed by Julius Berger. Eighty percent of those working there are indigenes, while the company provides the expatriates”, he said.
The PDP chairman also hinted on the plans of the state government to privatise the Buguma fish farm and banana farm, among others, so as to make them more viable.
He said that the state government had not abandoned the projects initiated by the previous administration, but was thinking on what to do with them.
Akawor maintained that the employment of 5,000 persons into the civil service was still ongoing, saying the government is only taking time to ensure that indigenes of the state are employed.
PH Airport Resumes Skeletal International Flight Operations
Skeletal flight operations have resumed at the international wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
This follows the lifting of the curfew that was imposed in the state by the Rivers State Government to check cases of insecurity in the state.
The Tide’s checks show that many of the airlines that operate international flights are yet to resume flight operations, even though the coast is clear for them to resume operations.
The Cronaux Airline, it was gathered, is the only airline at the moment that has fully resumed international flight.
Other airlines that operate at the international wing, like the Lufthansa Airline, Turkish Airline, and Ethiopian Airline are yet to resume operations.
The Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Kunle Akinbode, confirmed the resumption of international flight operations at the airport, last Friday, saying the international wing is now open for international airlines to operate.
He explained that the curfew that was imposed in the state delayed the resumption of international flights operations, even when issues of Covid-19 standard protocols had been addressed.
“Now that the curfew is over and the international wing is open for flight operations, it is left for each of the airlines to work out its own schedule for operations.
“It will not be the duty of the airport management to sort things out for them and know when to resume. I know that some have started. Lufthansa has said they will resume next month, August”, Akinbode said.
The Tide reports that the international wing of the Port Harcourt Airport had been shut since the Covid-19 lockdown, and did not reopen when other international airports in Lagos, Abuja and Kano among others reopened for international operations.
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