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Creating Jobs Via Resuscitation Of Moribund Industries

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The production tank belonging to Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in Ebocha Community, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The production tank belonging to Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in Ebocha Community, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.

Unarguably, unemploy
ment has reached alarming proportions in the country, especially among graduates of tertiary institutions.
This is partly because the Nigerian economy cannot absorb the growing number of graduates produced annually by the nation’s tertiary institutions.
Compounding the problem, tertiary institutions produce more graduates in the humanities and social sciences as a result their failure to adhere to the national admission policy, which prescribes 60:40 ratio in favour of the sciences.
The areas of specialisation of the graduates notwithstanding, experts insist that sustainable employment can be created via the manufacturing sector.
They are of the view that if state governments can revitalise the moribund industries in their states, this will reduce the unemployment rate, while boosting their internally generated revenue as well.
Several moribund industries, which were unfortunately blue-chip industries of yesteryears, now dot many parts of the country.
Concerned stakeholders, therefore, acclaim the recent pronouncement of Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia to resuscitate the Golden Guinea Breweries in Umuahia.
Mr Bonnie Iwuoha, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, broke the cheery news about the state government’s plans to reopen the brewery when he addressed journalists recently in Umuahia.
In addition to Golden Guinea, the commissioner said that the International Glass Industry in Aba would also bounce back to life.
Golden Guinea was established in 1960 by the administration of Dr Michael Okpara, the then Premier of the defunct Eastern Region, and incorporated two years later.
It became an economic epicentre and financial livewire, not only for the people of the then Eastern Region, but also for natives of Umuahia who enjoyed the socio-economic benevolence it offered through its social responsibility programmes.
In fact, the products of Golden Guinea Breweries like Golden Guinea lager, Eagle Stout and Bergdorf lager received appreciable patronage from 1960 to 2005 when it was eventually shut.
Concerned stakeholders, nonetheless, urge Ikpeazu to refrain from making empty promises like his predecessor, Chief T.A. Orji, who promised to revive the company.
Indeed, Orji in 2012 inaugurated a committee to look into ways of reviving the 54-year-old company.
He vowed to revive the brewery before leaving office, a pledge he failed to fulfil.
On the other hand, the International Glass Industry (IGI), Aba, also owned by the Abia Government, was leased to the Churchgate Group and it is showing signs of improvement.
IGI’s General Manager, Mr Kelechi Onuiri, said recently in Aba that the company had resumed the production of glass products.
He said that the factory, which started production late in March, produced and supplied more than 740,278 pharmaceutical bottles within two weeks of its resumption.
He said that the factory was currently servicing the needs of pharmaceutical industries outside the state.
Onuiri said that the company had employed more than 500 workers since its resumption to ensure full circle production.
“Right now, we have many people working here; we have employed more than 500 workers. Of course, we will take more people if need be,” he said.
However, the story is somewhat different with regard to the Modern Ceramic Industries in Umuahia.
After years of inactivity, the company was handed over to UCL Consortium, promoted by the Catholic Diocese of Umuahia.
Regrettably, the company’s handover could not bring it back to life.
Mr Uwakwe Nwachukwu, an economist, recalled that the Golden Guinness Breweries was one of the most successful breweries in Nigeria until it became moribund, adding: “Its collapse was mainly due to bad or inefficient management.’’
He said that board and management appointments were not based on knowledge and expertise, but purely on political considerations.
“More often than not, round pegs were put in square holes. Consequently, the brewery, which hitherto employed many hands and created considerable wealth, died,’’ he said.
Nwachukwu, who once worked in Golden Guinea as a casual employee for a fleeting period, said that the idea of revitalising or re-building the factory was, indeed, a welcome development.
According to him, a lot of benefits will accrue to the state and the people if the factory is revived.
“Other ancillary jobs or businesses will spring up within the factory environment and this will also reduce the number of unemployed persons in our society.
“In a time like this when unemployment in Nigeria has become a key challenge, the factory will add a lot value to the economy of Abia and the Nigerian economy as a whole.
“Furthermore, it will be quite plausible if the government could give consideration to the revitalisation of the Modern Ceramics Company, Umuahia.
“The ceramics company has good prospects for jobs as well as wealth creation for the government and the people,’’ he added.
Nwachukwu urged Ikpeazu not to relent in his efforts to bring back the “dead factories’’ back to life.
He urged him to borrow a leaf from the Rivers Government which successfully resuscitated Pabod Breweries.
“Rivers is one example; the once moribund Pabod Breweries was rebuilt by the last administration in the state.
“Today, Pabod Breweries engages many hands and it is the proud producer of Grand Beer and the now fancied or popular malt drink, Grand Malt.
“This can be replicated by the Abia Government, using the Golden Guinea Breweries and the Modern Ceramics Company in Umuahia as the platform,’’ he said.
In the same vein, Prof Aloysius Okolie of the Department of Political Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, urged state governors in the South East geopolitical zone to revive the collapsed industries in their states in order to create more jobs.
He said that the revival of the industries would create more employment opportunities for millions of jobless youths, while generating additional revenue for the states.
“Revitalising of these industries will be a means of diversifying the economy of the states, especially now when the country is experiencing economic melt-down,’’ he added.
There has been a drastic decline in allocations from the Federation Account to states and local governments as result of a sharp decline in crude oil prices in the international market.
“Some states and local governments in the country now find it difficult to pay their workers’ monthly salaries because of this drop in federal allocations,’’ Okolie said.
He, therefore, commended Gov. Ikpeazu’s move to revive Golden Guinea Breweries in Umuahia, describing it as a welcome development.
He, however, suggested that the state government should not own 100 per cent equity shares in the brewery.
“Government should have at most 30 per cent equity shares so as to allow the management of the brewery to be in the hands of private people who are expert in managing such companies.
“Government should also carry along the host community in order to protect equipment and facilities in that brewery,’’ he added.
Okolie said that pragmatic efforts should be made to revive industries like the cashew industry in Enugu, the ceramics industry in Umuahia, among others, which had become moribund.
“The industrial sector is a critical sector of any economy; it helps a country not to depend completely on foreign products.
“Nigeria is a dumping ground for foreign goods today because of the years of neglect which led to the collapse of many industries.
“Other governors in South East should emulate the Abia governor’s good example of reviving the popular Golden Guinea Brewery Umuahia, in efforts to improve the economy of their states and reducing unemployment,’’ he said.
Analysts underscore the need  for the federal, state and local governments to resuscitate all the moribund industries in their domains.
“This because industries provide employment opportunities for the youth, particularly graduates of engineering and physical sciences,’’ some of the analysts say.
Obike Ukoh is of the  News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

 

Obike Ukoh

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CBN Releases N756bn To Over 3m Farmers To Boost Food Security

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says it has released the sum of N756.51 billion to 3,734,938 small holder farmers, cultivating 4.6 million hectares of land, to boost the Federal Government’s food security initiative.
Mr Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor, made this known while presenting a communiqué from the bank’s recently held, 280th meeting of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
Emefiele said that N120.24 billion of the sum was extended for the 2021 wet season to 627,051 farmers for 847,484 hectares of land, under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
“The sum of N121.57 billion was disbursed to 32,617 beneficiaries.
“For the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF), N318.17 billion was released to 679,422 beneficiaries, comprising 572,189 households and 107,233 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs),’’ he said.
Emefiele revealed that the apex bank also expended huge sums in its youth investment scheme, to empower Nigerian youths, and to reduce unemployment by providing to the creative sector and Information Technology.
“Under the National Youth Investment Fund (NYIF), the Bank released N3.0 billion to 7,057 beneficiaries, of which 4,411 were individuals and 2,646 SMEs.
“Under the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI), N3.22 billion was disbursed to 356 5 beneficiaries across movie production, movie distribution, software development, fashion, and IT verticals,’’ he said.
The CBN Governor also revealed that the apex bank had invested close to N1trillion to boost the real sector of the economy, covering 251 real sector projects.
He said that the bank’s intervention also spanned health sector support initiatives and electricity distribution.
“Under the N1.0 trillion Real Sector Facility, the Bank released N923.41 billion to 251 real sector projects, of which 87 were in light manufacturing, 40 in agro-based industry, 32 in services and 11 in mining.
“On the N100 billion, Healthcare Sector Intervention Facility (HSIF), N98.41 billion was disbursed for 103 health care projects, of which, 26 are pharmaceuticals and 77 are in the hospital services.
“Similarly, the sum of N232.54 million was disbursed to five beneficiaries under the CBN Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention (Grant) Scheme (HSRDIS) for the development of testing kits and devices for COVID-19 and Lassa Fever.
“On the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), N36.04 billion was disbursed to 17 Meter Asset Providers to nine Distribution Companies (DisCos), for the procurement and installation of 657,562 electricity meters,’’ Emefiele said.

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Siat Assures Host Communities Of Fair Deal … Offers 15 Varsity Students Scholarships

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As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility to its host communities, an agro-allied company located in Rivers State, Siat Nigeria Limited, has assured that it would continue to cater for the wellbeing and needs of the indigenes of the communities where it is doing business even as it has offered undergraduate scholarship awards to 15 students from the areas.
The company, which gave the assurance during the presentation of scholarship awards to the students at its corporate headquarters in Ubima Community in Ikwerre Local Government Area recently, said it would continue to promote a harmonious working relationship with its host communities and strive as much as possible to contribute to their growth and development.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr Felix Nwabuko, who gave the indication in an address during the company’s this year’s undergraduate scholarship programme, said the scholarship initiative is just one of the corporate social responsibility lined up by the company for its host communities.
According to him, the university scholarship award is intended to assist and encourage students of the host communities in the areas of Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Accounting and Engineering.
While congratulating the beneficiary students on their success during the scholarship examination, Nwabuko noted that they are by this award, ambassadors of not only their communities but Siat Nigeria Limited, and urged them to exhibit good behaviour throughout the duration of their university education.
“It is our fervent belief that the beneficiaries will avail themselves of this singular opportunity and study hard to become good citizens of not only the communities they came from but the society at large”, he said.
Nwabuko commended the government at both the state and local levels for providing the enabling environment for the company’s operations as well as the peace the firm has enjoyed from the host communities.
He noted with delight that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, and its associated harsh economic effects, Siat Nigeria Limited did not lay off its workers like other companies including banks, stressing that it was because the company took into consideration the excellent relationship and goodwill it has with the host communities.
The beneficiaries of the scholarship were drawn from the company’s Ubima and Elele estates.
The first round of the scholarship programme took place in 2016 and the beneficiaries, according to the company, have all graduated.

By: Donatus Ebi

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AKK Project Will Enhance Gas Utilisation For Industrialisation – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari says successful completion of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano, AKK Project in 2023 would enhance domestic gas utilisation as the mainstay for national industrialisation.
Buhari stated this at the opening ceremony of the 2021 Gas Sector Stakeholders (AKK) Forum organised by the Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria (GACN) yesterday in Kano.
He was represented by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.
“Today’s event reinforces our commitments to realizing the inherent potentials of gas usage as a national catalyst for achieving economic diversification from crude oil and as transition period to the renewable energy,” he said.
He revealed that the project would also increase government revenue and create more jobs opportunities for the unemployed Nigerians.
The President said that many companies had been shut down due to power supply problem across the country.
He explained that it would take two to three years to reactivate those industries to their optimal performance.
Buhari also said that the Federal Government has reduced the price of gas from 2 dollars 50 cents to 2 dollars 18 Cents.
“Let me use this medium to announce that following successful negotiations between Federal Government of Nigeria and organized unions, the price of gas has been reduced from $2.50 Cents to $2.18 Cents, with immediate effects,” he said.
He said that all the relevant stakeholders had been communicated on the issue.
Also speaking, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, said that the AKK project had been on the drawing board for the past 30 years.
Kyari said when completed, it would provide enough gas for both domestic and export purposes.
“Nigeria has huge gas resources, gas means prosperity and delivering gas is an opportunity creation,” he said.
He pointed out that the project would revive about 232 industries along AKK corridor.
In his remarks, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado-Bayero, commended the Federal Government for the project, which he said, would also assist to enhance socioeconomic activities in the state.

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