Even with the enormous challenges faced by glass manufacturers in the country, high demand for empty bottles by the beverage industry is currently fuelling capacity expansion projects in the sector.
Beta Glass Plc, for instance, has become visibly seen to be driving this development with its one-year-old glass furnace and production lines in its plants in Delta State.
The former glass furnace of Beta Glass had a melting capacity of 170 metric tons per day, fitted with four production lines. The new plant brings the company’s overall capacity to 50 metric tons, with a mega furnace that has a capacity of 220 metric tons per day fitted with five production lines. With the new capacity, the company feels more confident of meeting demand for hollow bottles by industrial sectors such as brewery, pharmaceutical and wine makers.
Beyond meeting local demand for hollow glass containers in Nigeria, Beta Glass plans to harness the expanding opportunities in the West Africa sub-region and indeed the sub-Sahara region of Africa. The major operators in the brewery sector and clients of the company include Nigeria Breweries, Guinness, and Consolidated breweries, etc.
Similar improvements in production capacity are also going on at the International Glass Industry Limited, Aba, as well as Oluwa Glass in Ondo State.
The company’s chairman, Christopher Ogunbanjo, puts the cost of the plant equipped with the most modern technology in the glass industry at N3.8 billion, and with a new glass turbine to secure energy needs for the increased capacities. “For a stable and consistent power supply, a 4.9 megawatts gas turbine has been installed”.
The furnace, in addition to the increased capacity, facilitates the production of ultra light-weight bottles for the first time in West Africa. It also uses recycled glass, which helps the envroment as it is pollution free”, Ogunbanjo revealed.
Describing the company as one of the oldest and commercial industial organisations in Nigeria, Ogunbanjo indicated that the company did not overlook the critical issue of regular electrical support needed for uninterrupted production.
Petros Diamantides, Managing Director, Frigoglass, Anthens, said in establishing the world-class operation, they not only appealed to leading equipment producers but at the same time endeavoured to increase local content and input of local expertise and services, this accounted for 25 per cent of the total cost of the project to about N1 billion. Beta Glass is a member of Frigoglass, a multinational organisation and members of the Leventis Group. The management of the company recently declared that demand for new glass packaging by breweries and soft drinks companies boosts its turnover from N7.03 billion to N9.08 billion.
According to Ogunbanjo, despite the challenges faced by the company, our turnover increased from N7.03 billion to N9.08 billion, a growth of 29 per cent that was on the back of a 37 per cent growth last year, adding that “profit after tax rose from N0.87 billion to N1.9 billion, representing a growth of 38 per cent.
“The major growth drivers were the strong continued demand in the breweries and soft drinks sector, and new glass packaging launches from our major customers. Packaging has bee recognised as an effective tool to drive sales and excitement among the consumers by our customers”, he stressed.
The chairman also noted that the company continued to develop and position itself as a strategic partner to its customers to support better value creation in their businesses through securing a reliable supply base to them at a competitive price.
To this degree, he expected quality levels as it has committed to make investments in technology improvements in light-weight bottles and capacity to support the growth of its customers.
He also revealed that the investments in capacities and technology advances to sustain growth also created pressure on the cash flow and debt position, as the debt situation remained high with resulting finance costs.
On the future prospect, he disclosed that there were credible indications that the global recession was going to deepen in 2009 and a harsh economic climate awaited industrics all over the world.
Farmer Cries Out Over Cattle Invasion
A farmer in Aluu Community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr Nwo Nna, has cried out over cattle invasion of his farmland and crops.
Nna made this known in a chat with newsmen in Aluu recently.
He said that the most worrisome aspect of the development was the neglect by the herders of the Anti-Grazing Law passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly.
The farmer who discribed such as vexatious and provocative, appealed for intervention by relevant agencies in order to secure their future.
“I got to my farm on Saturday morning only to see my vegetables, cassava, yam and the entire farm devastated by cows”, he said.
He expressed regrets that his farm, which was not at the road had experienced such attack for the second time.
The farmer noted that it would have been a different ball game, if he had met the herders in his farm.
“The saving grace was that I did not meet them. They should be called to order to avoid problems”, he said.
He also sought for urgent intervention of the Rivers State Government, Myyetti Allah and other relevant authorities to warn the herders to keep off people’s farms in the interest of peace.
The farmer further explained that it was becoming a regular practice for herders to parade their cows along the roads, and such cows stray into farm lands and destroy people’s means of livelihood.
While declaring that Rivers people are hospitable, the farmer warned stranger elements, who do not have respect for the laws of the land as well as terrorise other people’s means of livelihood, to take their lawlessness elsewhere.
Other farmers who also responded called for the establishment of a system that monitors the activities of herders.
According to them, it will enable those who take their cows into farms to be identified and adequately sanctioned in the event of any invasion by the cows.
This, they said will bring a lasting peace and as well serve as a deterrent to others.
By: King Onunwor
EFCC Blames Frauds In Banking Sector On Insiders
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission last Wednesday said most frauds in the banking sector were perpetrated by insider Information, Communication Technology employees.
Head, Cybercrime Section of the EFCC, Abbah Sambo, made the declaration at a national seminar on Banking and Allied Matters for judges in Abuja recently.
Sambo, who represented the EFCC Chairman, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, at the seminar, said that most banking sector frauds handled by the commission showed that bank employees aided the acts.
He also expressed regrets at the increasing rate of cybercrime in spite of efforts by the commission to tackle it.
Sambo observed that in years past, young people involved in cybercrime were not ICT savvy, but today, it was ICT graduates that are the champions in perpetrating the crime.
He attributed the increase in cybercrime to moral decadence and peer group influence.
“The rate at which young men are perpetrating cybercrime is seriously alarming.
“When we arrest these criminals, one major reason they give for going into the crime is peer influence.Their friends are into it and they want to run with guys that drive the best cars and have the best girls in town”, he said.
He hinted that most times when the criminals were arrested, a lot of assets on them, are registered in the names of their parents.
“Cars in the names of their mothers and houses in the names of their fathers. There is a fundamental issue relating to decay in moral coverage in the society,’’ he said.
Sambo said that the greatest challenge in fighting cybercrime was the knowledge gap, and noted that the criminals were getting more sophisticated.
According to him, the criminals had the ability to talk to one another seamlessly by sharing knowledge, unlike law enforcement agencies.
“A lot of the people trying to combat the crime in the field tend to lack the drive because they do not have adequate training,’’ he said.
He stressed the need for adequate sensitisation and engagement with youths, especially from secondary school level to let them know the ills of crime.
The two-day seminar was organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria in collaboration with the National Judicial Institution.
SEC Frowns At Resurgence Of Ponzi Schemes
The Securities and Exchange Commission has frowned upon the resurgence of Ponzi schemes and illegal fund managers in the country’s financial sector.
The Director-General of SEC, Mr Lamido Yuguda, made the observation of the development at an enlightenment workshop with the staff of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning on in Abuja over the week.
Yuguda said that the unlawful schemes had continued to enjoy massive patronage of the populace and remained a source of concern for regulators in the financial sector.
According to him, the commission was poised to continue to apply measures and seek the cooperation of relevant stakeholders toward combating the activities of these Ponzi schemes.
He expressed regrets that the upsurge of the schemes had undermined the reputation of the financial markets and dampened investors’ confidence, among other things.
“SEC firmly believes that the country’s capital market can attain its potential if market operators and participants contribute their respective quotas to the growth”, he said.
He also explained that SEC was committed to always ensure and maintain an environment that was enabled by the appropriate regulatory framework, timely and affordable access to market.
“The commission is also committed to zero tolerance for infractions, heightened investor confidence and awareness, innovative product development and good governance practice”, he said
“There is the need to restore investor confidence and improve the participation of retail investors in the market.
He further pointed out that the demography of investors in the country’s capital market showed that the young population do not participate in the capital market, and only a few Nigerians invested in the capital market.
The situation, he said, created a huge challenge to the market growth and the commission and added that it was striving to change the narratives by instilling a fair, transparent and orderly market.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, represented by Mr Stephen Okon, Director Home Finance, urged investors to take advantage of the various initiatives in the market.
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