From Scholastica Hir, Makurdi

In a bid to revive the state’s industrial sector, the Benue State Government has issued a 90-days ultimatum to the Nigerian Brewery to resume production at its plant located along the Makurdi-Gboko road.

The ultimatum was delivered by the Managing Director of the Benue Investment and Property Company Limited (BIPC), Dr. Raymond Asemakaha, during a meeting with representatives from the Nigerian Brewery at the BIPC corporate headquarters in Makurdi, the state capital.

Dr. Asemakaha expressed the state government’s eagerness to see companies operating in Benue state return to full production, stating that the state has a wealth of raw materials such as sorghum, as well as a readily available workforce to support the brewery’s operations.

“We’re giving them, Nigerian Brewery, a 90-day ultimatum to resume production because if it is sorghum, we have sorghum. If it’s manpower, we have manpower,” Dr. Asemakaha said.

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The MD also highlighted the state’s efforts to create a more business-friendly environment, including the introduction of a one-stop shop for ease of doing business and the offer of tax holidays to incentives investors.

“The state has introduced easy ways of doing business with a one-stop shop, and so with tax holidays, it is important for you to quickly return to production,” he added.

He lamented that the Nigerian Brewery failed to utilize the backward integration that would have transformed Benue farmers but rather choose Kaduna State in spite of the fertile land the state has for sorghum cultivation.

Responding, the Corporate Affairs Manager covering the East and Middle Belt for the Nigerian Brewery, Joy Egolum, acknowledged the state’s efforts and expressed the company’s willingness to consider the incentives offered.

She, however noted the challenges associated with the immediate resumption of operations, stating that even routine maintenance can be time-consuming.

“We will come back to you very soon, we don’t need 90 days, but anyone who runs a production line will agree with me that even doing maintenance takes a longer time. So it’s not possible for us to do production within that time frame but we understand how passionate you are, and we will get a response before the 90 days and proceed from there,” Egolum said.

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