…As Investors Indicate Interest
By John Oghojafor
In line with the recent directive by the federal government to identify and resuscitate moribund industries both in the public and private sectors of the country, investors have started inspection visits to some of such industries in Delta State with the aim of acquiring or going into partnership to reactivate them back to life.
It would be recalled that the federal government, in its bid to create employment and reflate the economy in pursuit of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), has instructed that all the moribund and ailing industries across the country, whether public or private be reactivated.
In Delta State, The New Diplomat gathered that moribund factories which, hitherto were run by the former Bendel State government (now Delta State government) include the Asaba Textile Mill, Asaba; Bendel Glass Factory, Ughelli; Bendel Steel Structure, Warri; African Timber & Plywood (AT&P), Sapele; Delta Boatyard, Warri; Uzere Rice Mill, Uzere among several others.
Rising to the occasion, the State Ministry of Commerce and Industry recently has been engaged in the inspection tour of the moribund factories with several private investors who have indicated interest in their acquisition and revival for mutual benefit.
The team comprising the Honourable Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Mary Iyasere and some directors in the ministry, some Chinese investors visited the Bendel Glass Factory, Ughelli, where they inspected the facilities.
Fielding questions from newsmen shortly after the inspection, the Director of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in the Ministry, Mr. Pat Isichei, stated that the purpose of the visit was to inspect some of the companies in which government has stakes which are either moribund or ailing, adding that some investors have indicated interest in taking them over for the purpose of resuscitation.
Said he: “We are going round some of the companies in which government has stakes because there are some investors who have come around and have indicated interest in some areas. So, we are trying to do is that the ones in which the investors are interested in they can buy into them. If they want to take them over 100 percent, it is alright but if they want to partner with some other organizations, it is still alright.
“From what we have seen, the investors are interested in the resuscitation of Bendel Glass Factory. We are going to sit down work out the modality in terms of the equity.”
Responding to a question as to whether this recent attempt at resuscitating the factory would not be like such visits in previous years that have yielded nothing, Mr. Isichei stated that the present move will be different.
“This time around it will be different. Let me tell you, those people have been trying to place the cart before the horse. This time around, we are going round with all of those who have indicated interest and by tomorrow we will sit in a round table and finalize issues”, he said.
Also speaking to journalists in his office, the General Manager of the Company, Barr. J.E. Ukpedor, expressed optimism that he was sure the recent move will ultimately lead to the resuscitation of the factory.
Said he: “Very ready, it is my prayer that this will be the last time. Since the federal government is going round all over the country to ensure that all moribund companies are reactivated, not only public companies but also private ones, I’m sure this will work and Bendel Glass will come up again.”
Mr. Ukpedor however advised the state government to give the necessary encouragement to interested investors to take up the company to generate employment and improve the economy of the state through multiplier effect.
Also speaking, Barr. Ejiro Numoja stated that the community was ready to welcome any serious investor who will be interested in the resuscitation of the factory, adding that the community has signed a peace guarantee which has been delivered to the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry promising to provide a conducive environment for the investors to work.