The Managing Director Benue Investment and Property Company (BIPC), Dr. Raymond Asemakaha CFA has pledged to deploy his wealth of experience, expertise, and knowledge to uplift the company to enviable heights.
Asemakaha made his position known to journalists at the BIPC Guest House in Makurdi, the State Capital, during a press briefing.
He also thanked the Governor of the state, Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia, for finding him worthy to serve as the Managing Director of Benue Investment and Property Company Limited (BIPC).
“I sincerely wish to pledge my unwavering support to his administration and to bring on board my wealth of experience, expertise, and knowledge to uplift the company to enviable heights.
“Since I assumed office last November, I moved swiftly to organize the first-ever Benue Local Investors Forum (BELIF2023), where we brought local investors together to identify challenges confronting investment and hindering business operations in the state,” Asemakaha stressed.
He stated that most companies such as Olam and Breweries, to mention just a few, left the State because of the cumbersome ways of doing business in the State.
“So, when I took over as the Managing Director, I moved on to ensure that we change the trajectory.
“The Benue Local Investors Forum (BELIF2023) attempts to bring on board a pool of investors using the KADinvest model, which is why we brought Nur Khali Nur, the former Executive Secretary to Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA) to serve as our guest speaker. We have since built a synergy with him, Kaduna State, and other technocrats to ensure that our dear State gets the desired investment.
“Our aspirations are that in the last quarter of this year, we shall organise the Beninvest 2024 Summit, where we shall usher in state economic prosperity similar to or more than that obtainable in Kaduna.
“With the summit, our target will be to make Benue State the number one investment destination in Nigeria, thereby attracting both foreign and local investments.
“When I took over, I also inherited a backlog of seven months of salaries and allowances, but His Excellency, Rev. Dr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia Hyacinth Alia, graciously approved the clearing of the arrears and allowances owed to the staff of the company.
“Today, the staff of the company are no longer owed, and we are therefore bringing in reforms that will improve the productivity of the staff, reposition the company, and enhance profitability,” he revealed.
According to the MD, having looked at the books of the company, he is currently embarking on a visit to the assets of the company to receive briefs on their states.
“First, I visited the company’s Fountain Estate in Nyorgyungu, Makurdi, where, although laudable as the project is, many financial impropriety issues were observed. For instance, over N700 million was disbursed for the project, yet when I took over, only 16 out of the 30 units were completed.
“It’s rather disheartening that even though the company had agreed to execute the project on direct labour, it was rather unfortunate that a contractor was engaged without award papers.We observed sadly that the project was not completed, and we will do everything to ensure that it’s completed.
“We have also gone to the Makurdi Guests House of the Company and the proposed Makurdi Shopping Mall and are carrying out critical reforms to ensure that we net profit in the company.
“Just last week, we carried out strategic audits of our leased assets in Abuja, particularly with the Taj Bank and Cosgrove.
“My findings at the Taj Bank were satisfactory owing to the quantum of investment the bank has made in the Benue Plaza. Even though I have some concerns about the lease agreement, the bank agreed to, together with my management, revisit the grey areas.
“We were rather dismayed with the percentage of the joint venture agreement that the company entered into with Cosgrove, and as such, we have decided to revisit the joint venture agreement.
“To key into the vision of our dear Governor, Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia, I have moved to further formulate projects that will stimulate the economy and improve the GDP from 5.4 to 8 million dollars.
“To this end, I am glad to announce to the people of the state that we will soon launch Benue Palm Oil. You will agree with me that palm oil is being imported into the country, and today, because of the global economic crisis and the blocking of the Red Sea, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get the product here.
”As a matter of urgency, we plan to set up a palm plantation in each zone of the state to start a palm plantation. in a few years to come, will provide raw materials for the plant with surpluses exported. As such, I’ve therefore directed our real estate and investment department to commence work on 10 out of the 23 hectares of land the company has in Abinsi, Guma LGA area of the state, for the palm plantation project.
“We also agreed that the remaining 13 hectares of land at Abinsi would be used for a low-income earners’ Estate in the state. This too, I have directed the real estate department to work so we could have something for our people, even for those who earn as little as 500,000 naira, our amortization policy will permit such low-income earners’ to also have homes.
“My management also enforced a recovery order for a property that was recovered back in 2019 but was not enforced, and we have commenced the process of turning the space of the 33-room property into a BENUE WATER FACTORY to become a player in the water industry.
”I’m glad to announce also that as part of a short-term approach to expanding the businesses of the Company, we have reintroduced the BIPC pastries. We’re optimistic that when we have this on board, we will expand the economy of the state and get more employment for the teeming youth of the state.
“Already we have initiated discussions with the state government to transfer moribund industries and other properties to the company to ensure proper management on behalf of the state. We desire to consolidate the non-performing assets of the Company in Abuja and Kaduna to make sure that we revamp moribund industries in the state thereby creating employment and curtailing post-harvest losses.
“The BIPC under my watch will be service-driven as such we are creating a One-stop-shop where investors can get all the information, process, and amount needed to do business in the state. All the assets of the state will be registered and a special desk officer created to provide such information. In addition, we have launched a website (www.bipc.be.gov.ng) to offer diverse information on how business can be done. All this is put in place so we could have ease of doing business in the state.
“Consequently, going forward BIPC will from 1st March 2024 go digital in all its operations. We have set up the structure for that transition and on that day all manual processes will be suspended for automated one,” he maintained.
The Managing Director also revealed that he inherited a total of 110 permanent staff and 58 casual staff, totaling 186 workforce of the company