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ACHIEVEMENTS RECORDED BY THE MINISTRY OF INDUSTRY, TRADE AND INVESTMENT IN THE LAST ONE YEAR OF HIS EXCELLENCY, GOVERNOR SAMUEL ORTOM’S ADMINISTRATION PRESENTED BY THE HONOURABLE COMMISSIONER FOR INDUSTRY, TRADE AND INVESTMENT, DR. TERSOO KPELAI ON THE OCCASION OF MID-TERM SCORE CARD AND ACCOUNTABILITY BRIEFING FOR MINISTRIES AND PARASTATALS ON 3RD MARCH, 2017.   PREAMBLE The administration of His Excellency, Samuel Ortom is hinged on providing critical infrastructure, STEAM-based education, health care, agriculture-driven industrialization through good governance and gender-responsive policies aimed at creating wealth and generating employment for the teaming youth through mutually beneficial Public Private Partnership (PPP) engagements. The Ministry’s efforts are therefore, directed at attracting both local and foreign investors to form strategic alliance in resuscitating moribund industries and establishing new ones. The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment since inception has recorded remarkable achievements in the following areas:   INDUSTRY   Taraku Mills The largest milling company in West Africa which was have been established by the first civilian Governor of Benue State, Aper Aku was leased to a private partner by the previous administration but since the company is not producing at the moment, the present administration is currently involved in very serious business discussions with three different foreign investors who are bidding to take-over the company. The idea is targeted at arriving on the most qualified and suitable partner that will not only bring the company back to production but an investor that has the financial and technical capability that will add value to the state’s economy.   Mega Foods and Beverages – Wanunne The present administration in line with Public Private Partnership policy of industrialization has divested 85% of the equity in the company at Mega Foods processing Company Limited to TORRA KFT of Hungary as the core investor in a Joint venture-ship agreement with the state government. The State Government is left with 15% of the equity shares. The core investor is inundated with Investment Collateral which is to be secured through the Central Bank of Nigeria to draw the Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, and component. The core investor has promised to complete installation and test run the plant by the third quarter of 2017.   Katsina-Ala Yam Flour Industry The present administration has released the last trench of money for civil works and trial production amounting to the sum of forty five million, four hundred and fifty nine thousand, three hundred and ninety two naira, fifty kobo (N45,459,392.50), for the continuation of installation work at the factory and the following have been achieved: installation of machinery and equipment has attained 97% completion. The company has successfully carried out the first and second trial test-run of the product using yam as the raw materials. The quality of the flour however, did not measure up to expectations and the contractor has agreed to install a steam boiler. The factory will commence production before the end of the second quarter of the year 2017.     Star Cement Factory-Igumale Benue State Government entered into partnership agreement with M/s Zhengzou Cangxi Industry and Commerce Development Company Ltd. of Henan province of China on October 15, 2001 for the establishment of a 600,000 metric tons per annum cement manufacturing plant in Igumale, Ado Local Government Area of Benue State. Governor Samuel Ortom during the last business trip to the People’s Republic of China accompanied by the commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Tersoo Kpeai inspected the last batch of equipment for the completion of the factory. The shipping of the last batch of equipment is in the pipeline and a timeline is agreed upon in the supplementary agreement of the core investor to test run the company before the end of the year. His Excellency has approved funds already for implementation of the Government obligations. Expatriate quota has been secured and the processing form is ongoing to shift the remaining machinery and equipment form Guangzhou, China.   Lobi Cassava Flour Mills Nigeria Limited The plant was leased to M/s Apex Export Product Ltd. by the previous administration for a period of ten years. The promoter is unable to sustain production and the present administration has identified an investor for a possible new alliance of the factory since it has seized production for some time now.   Benue Fruits Nigeria Ltd. The multi-fruits processing factory designed to process mangoes, oranges, and pineapples into concentrates and juice is currently leased to Messrs Teragro Nig. Ltd. The company is not producing at the moment and Teragro has offered to establish a new ownership structure that will add value to the state, to the plant and the Benue farmers. The review process is ongoing.   Benue Burnt Bricks Limited, Otukpo Government’s intention to revamp the Otukpo burnt bricks factory has led to the State Council on Privatization’s approval for leasing the company to Messrs. Greengold Exploration Limited. An investment agreement has been signed and the investor has commenced the clearing of the site.   Benue State Food Processing Hub The administration intends to establish a food processing hub in partnership with foreign investors. So far, the Benue State University, Makurdi, Centre for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER) has concluded a feasibility study for the establishment of the hub. The state seeks partnership with foreign exporters to drive this proposed hub to be established at Daudu.   Sheanut/Butter Picking, Treatment and Marketing A bill prohibiting the act of cutting down shea trees is been drafted and will soon be presented to the State Executive Council for onward transmission to the State House of Assembly. Sensitization workshops/capacity building on sheanut picking, treatment and marketing for rural women and Benue youths have been conducted in Guma and Tarka Local Government Areas of Benue State and will be replicated in the remaining local government areas of the state. The idea is to utilize the export and wealth creating values of sheanut as it is an export commodity abundant in the state.   State Council on Privatization and Commercialization of Enterprises For the implementation of State policy on Privatization and Commercialization of Government owned enterprises. This bill was passed and signed into law as far back as 2010 but was set aside without the inauguration of the Council. His Excellency, Governor Samuel Ortom on assumption of office inaugurated the 7 member council on privatization and commercialization in March, 2016. The council has already swung into action and has approved the lease of Benue Burnt Bricks Limited, Otukpo and the divestment of Mega Foods and Beverages Limited, Wannune.   Benue State Government/BOI SME’s N3 Billion Loan Facility The Government through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has also successfully entered into partnership with the Bank of Industries (BOI) to secure 3 billion naira to disburse to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the state to boost the business and trading activities in the state. We have also secured a branch of the BOI in Makurdi and was commissioned on the 27th February, 2017.   Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC) The Government of His Excellency, Samuel Ortom has released the sum of one hundred and ninety five million, four hundred and forty five thousand, thirty four naira, and seventy five kobo (195,445,034.75) for the completion of the CBN Entrepreneurship Development Centre. The contractor has since resumed work and is at an advance stage to complete the project. We hope that, this institution will be used to train and build capacities among potential and practicing entrepreneurs.   BNSG MSMES Credit Scheme The present administration has set up a committee to work out modalities to recover the State Government Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises loans disbursed by the previous administration to over 100 beneficiaries. A consultant has been hired to recover these debts. The money is going to be committed into a revolving scheme to assist promoters of Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs.   Training of 500 participants for Industrial Skills Development Programme The Benue State government in partnership with ITF is to undertake National Industrial Skill Development Programme (NISDP) scheme in the state for training and giving start-off packs to 500 youths at the cost of forty two million, three hundred and fifty thousand (N42,350,000) only. The beneficiaries who have been selected across the 23 local government areas of the state will receive 3 months training in 6 different skills after which they will be given start-up packs to take off on their own. This programme is the first of its kind in the whole country.   ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE AREA OF COMMERCE   Relocation of Wurukum Market to the Ultra-Modern International Market. A technical committee has been set up by the state EXCO to facilitate the smooth and easy movement of traders and other business activities from the Wurukum market to the new Ultra-Modern International Market for a decent environment, insurance of ware-houses, better trading activities and to ease the congestion at Wurukum which has been causing traffic problems on a daily basis. The Ministry has carried out adequate advocacy, sensitizing all critical stakeholders in the last one year. The Wurukum market area has been acquired by the State Government for over ridding public interest. Documentation and valuation of shop owners at the market has been concluded and letters are been issued out to the affected persons. The process of relocation will be completed in March, 2017.   Upgrading and rehabilitation of the Makurdi Modern Market The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has identified a market developer and we have signed an MOU already. The developer is to inject over N1 billion to reconstruct the burnt stalls and build over 772 new shops in the phase II of the market. This exercise to upgrade the physical facilities and reconstruct the modern market will equip the market with modern facilities for smooth and effective trade flows.   GSM/ICT Village A Memorandum of Understanding, MOU has been signed with PCG Limited, a Lagos based real estate developer for the construction of a modern GSM and ICT village with the Benue State Government in Makurdi. All the documentation and approval needed for the flag off has been obtained and a date will soon be fixed for the exercise.   DFID/UNDP Assistance UNDP and DFID have entered into partnership with the State government through the Ministry of Trade and Investment to provide alternative livelihood to assist, provide technical support to the beneficiaries of the state amnesty progamme. This idea is to provide the necessary skills set-training and provision of start-up kits to the beneficiaries to empower them start up a trade or business for self-reliance.   Hosting 8th National Trade Fair The first of its kind in 11 years, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in conjuction with Benue Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Mines and Agriculture (BECCIMA) successfully organized the 8th Benue National Trade Fair. The Fair provided the opportunity to showcase the agricultural and investment potentials of the state and attracted participants from all over the country. Another trade fair is in the pipeline, waiting for His Excellency’s approval and it is intended to be showcasing products of Benue farmers as well as products of SME’s, so as to ascertain the level/knowledge of skills acquisition of the people of Benue State in order to compliment government’s efforts in promoting skills acquisition.   First Benue Business round table The State Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in conjunction with Benue Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (BECCIMA) successfully organized the first Benue Business Round-table on the 6th December, 2016 with the resolution by stakeholders of the 23 local governments to promote at least four agricultural products/solid minerals among others for export markets in the 23 local government areas. The initiative is to provide the necessary platform for all key players in the agricultural, manufacturing and industry to synergize, strategize and review progress on agriculture for increased productivity in Benue State.   Unified Standard Weight and measures The Ortom led administration through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has signed an MOU with Benue farmers, Trade Unions, promoters and relevant stakeholders on Unified Standard Weight and Measures. The standard sacks are as follows:
  1. 28 inches x 47 inches for all grains such as rice, soya beans, beans, melon, sorghum, millet, yam chips, cassava chips, gbaaye (iron seeds), locust beans and fruits such as oranges without extra covers.
  2. 23 inches x 25 inches for garri.
  • The standard mudu shall be 1kg for measuring grains using one hand and not packing with two hands.
  1. The standard tin is 25kg for polished/milled rice and palm oil. Already, the market operators, relevant stakeholders and farmers have complied with the policy. Contract has been awarded for the production of Benue sacks and basins which shall be launched soon.
Proposed SMEs Clinic The Ministry also intends to set up an Entrepreneur Development Centre (EDC), that will serve as a unit for giving advice, support as well as give guidelines to beneficiaries of SMEs and other scheme on how to develop, manage and grow any business of their choice. Conclusion We appreciate the organizers of this press briefing for affording us the opportunity to educate the good people of Benue State on the pragmatic efforts made by the Samuel Ortom led administration in the area of industry, trade, commerce and skill acquisition. Thank you and God bless.