N100 million unsettled bank loan nails hope of rehabilitating Akwa Ibom paints factory

Posted by Effiong Udousoroh, Uyo | 10 March 2015 | 4,689 times

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There is anxiety and fear that the abandoned Peacock Paints Industry, located at Ikot Ekan, Etinan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State will not be resuscitated after all, “at least not in the foreseeable future.”

Senior Special Adviser to Governor Godswill Akpabio on Industry and Investment, Chief Senas Ukpanah, made this disclosure while briefing correspondents in Uyo.

Chief Ukpanah, who is also Chairman, Akwa Ibom Investment Corporation (AKICorp), was rendering his scorecard on industrialisation and investment opportunities in Akwa Ibom State under Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio’s administration in the past seven and half years.

He disclosed that the abandoned Peacock Paints management borrowed over N100 million from First Bank Nigeria, up from an initial N30 million “but the company never refunded the loan, not even part payment, before the unfortunate collapse of the industry.”

“Just last week, I received a call from Port Harcourt and discovered that it was from a Receiver or what is popularly known as Liquidator, appointed by the First Bank to handle the liquidation issue or otherwise of the company, but I asked him to call back next week. I held a meeting with stakeholders at Etinan, if they would take over the factory, but there was no clear-cut answer,” Chief Ukpanah stated.

“The investor who had the interest, only offered N45 million. But who would want to take over an abandoned company with over N100 million liabilities, with accrued wages?” he asked.

He however noted that “Peacock Paint was a highly rated product which competed favourably with Berger, Ducross or Saclox paints in this country.”

The ex-Minister of Commerce listed other ailing industries in the state to include Quality Ceramics Industry in Itu. According to him, “Three or four investors came with expression of interest, and we invited two of them for discussion, but the processes are not easy, taking over a plant that you did not start. What about the market for its product?”

“Another, is the Abestonit factory at Oron, which was established to produce Abestonit Roofing Sheets, and which never really took off.” Expressing government’s disappointment over its establishment, noted that “Abestonit Roofing Sheets are no longer tenable anywhere in the country.

“The investors who expressed their interest, from Imo and Abia states, said they want to change the place to Petroleum Tank Farm, eyeing Ibaka Industrial Estate and the Ibaka Deep Seaport corridor, but again, how would that impact the community?

“The Qua Steel Factory at Eket. Mobil Producing Nigeria, expressed interest to take over, and they want to use it in training off-shore pipeline welders and other related middle manpower hands.”

The Senior Special Adviser however expressed delight over the turn of events at Sunshine Battery Industry at Ikot Ekpene, disclosing that “a company called Bero, from Turkey, has taken over the industry and is now producing high quality household appliances.”

Chief Ukpanah stated that Champion Breweries Industry, the producers of Champion Larger Beer, located in Uyo, has been revived. “Since Heinekins took over that beer industry and paid up to 67 per cent of the amount owed by an Indian company which messed up the place, Champion beer is now one of the best in the country. Champion is on its way to glory,” adding, “Not less than 100 trucks-load of the product leave the factory to Imo, Cross River, Abia, Anambra, Edo, Enugu, Lagos and other states monthly,” the Chairman stressed.

He also said that “the administration of Governor Godswill Akpabio will reactivate and promptly put to use, the Palm Oil Processing Industry, abandoned at Ikot Akpa Nkuk, Ukanafun Local Government Area, by the Obong Victor Attah’s administration, as soon as possible, to boost the economic life of the people of the area.”

•Photo shows Senas Ukpanah.

Source: News Express

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