One of the ways in which the federal government can enhance its job and wealth creation drive is by reviving
the comatose industries in the country, writes OBIKE UKOH

UNARGUABLY, unemployment
has reached alarming proportions
in the country, especially among
graduates of tertiary institutions.
This is partly because the Nigerian
economy cannot absorb the
growing number of graduates
produced annually by the nation’s
tertiary institutions.
Compounding the problem,
tertiary institutions produce more
graduates in the humanities and
social sciences as a result their
failure to adhere to the national
admission policy, which prescribes
60:40 ratio in favour of the sciences.
The areas of specialisation of
the graduates notwithstanding,
experts insist that sustainable
employment can be created via the
manufacturing sector.
They are of the view that if state
governments can revitalise the
moribund industries in their states,
this will reduce the unemployment
rate, while boosting their internally
generated revenue as well. Several
moribund industries, which were
unfortunately blue-chip industries
of yesteryears, now dot many
parts of the country.
Concerned stakeholders,
therefore, acclaim the recent
pronouncement of Gov. Okezie
Ikpeazu of Abia to resuscitate
the Golden Guinea Breweries in
Umuahia. Mr Bonnie Iwuoha, the
Commissioner for Information
and Strategy, broke the cheery
news about the state government’s
plans to reopen the brewery when
he addressed journalists recently
in Umuahia.
In addition to Golden Guinea,
the commissioner said that the
International Glass Industry in
Aba would also bounce back to life.
Golden Guinea was established in
1960 by the administration of Dr

Michael Okpara, the then Premier
of the defunct Eastern Region, and
incorporated two years later.
It became an economic epicentre
and financial livewire, not only for
the people of the then Eastern Region,
but also for natives of Umuahia
who enjoyed the socio-economic
benevolence it offered through its
social responsibility programmes.
In fact, the products of Golden
Guinea Breweries like Golden Guinea
lager, Eagle Stout and Bergdorf lager
received appreciable patronage from
1960 to 2005 when it was eventually
shut. Concerned stakeholders,
nonetheless, urge Ikpeazu to refrain
from making empty promises like
his predecessor, Chief T.A. Orji, who
promised to revive the company.
Indeed, Orji in 2012 inaugurated
a committee to look into ways of
reviving the 54-year-old company.
He vowed to revive the brewery
before leaving office, a pledge he
failed to fulfil.
On the other hand, the International
Glass Industry (IGI), Aba, also owned
by the Abia Government, was leased
to the Churchgate Group and it is
showing signs of improvement. IGI’s
General Manager, Mr Kelechi Onuiri,
said recently in Aba that the company
had resumed the production of glass
products.
He said that the factory, which
started production late in March,
produced and supplied more than
740,278 pharmaceutical bottles
within two weeks of its resumption.
He said that the factory was
currently servicing the needs of
pharmaceutical industries outside
the state. Onuiri said that the
company had employed more than
500 workers since its resumption to
ensure full circle production.
“Right now, we have many people
working here; we have employed

more than 500 workers. Of course,
we will take more people if need
be,” he said. However, the story is
somewhat different with regard to
the Modern Ceramic Industries in
Umuahia. After years of inactivity,
the company was handed over to
UCL Consortium, promoted by
the Catholic Diocese of Umuahia.
Regrettably, the company’s handover
could not bring it back to life.
Mr Uwakwe Nwachukwu, an
economist, recalled that the Golden
Guinness Breweries was one of the
most successful breweries in Nigeria
until it became moribund, adding:
“Its collapse was mainly due to bad
or inefficient management.” He
said that board and management

knowledge and expertise, but purely
on political considerations.
“More often than not, round
pegs were put in square holes.
Consequently, the brewery, which
hitherto employed many hands and
created considerable wealth, died,’’
he said. Nwachukwu, who once
worked in Golden Guinea as a casual
employee for a fleeting period, said
that the idea of revitalising or rebuilding
the factory was, indeed, a
welcome development.
According to him, a lot of benefits
will accrue to the state and the
people if the factory is revived.
“Other ancillary jobs or businesses
will spring up within the factory
environment and this will also
reduce the number of unemployed
persons in our society.
“In a time like this when
unemployment in Nigeria has
become a key challenge, the factory
will add a lot value to the economy
of Abia and the Nigerian economy
as a whole. Furthermore, it will be
quite plausible if the government
could give consideration to the
revitalisation of the Modern
Ceramics Company, Umuahia.
“The ceramics company has good
prospects for jobs as well as wealth
creation for the government and the
people,” he added. Nwachukwu
urged Ikpeazu not to relent in his
efforts to bring back the “dead
factories” back to life. He urged him
to borrow a leaf from the Rivers
Government which successfully
resuscitated Pabod Breweries.
“Rivers is one example; the once
moribund Pabod Breweries was
rebuilt by the last administration in
the state. Today, Pabod Breweries
engages many hands and it is the
proud producer of Grand Beer
and the now fancied or popular

malt drink, Grand Malt. This
can be replicated by the Abia
Government, using the Golden
Guinness Breweries and the
Modern Ceramics Company in
Umuahia as the platform,’’ he
said.
In the same vein, Prof Aloysius
Okolie of the Department of
Political Science, University of
Nigeria, Nsukka, urged state
governors in the South East
geopolitical zone to revive the
collapsed industries in their states
in order to create more jobs.
He said that the revival of the
industries would create more
employment opportunities for
millions of jobless youths, while
generating additional revenue for
the states. “Revitalising of these
industries will be a means of
diversifying the economy of the
states, especially now when the
country is experiencing economic
melt-down,’’ he added.
There has been a drastic decline
in allocations from the Federation
Account to states and local
governments as result of a sharp
decline in crude oil prices in the
international market. “Some states
and local governments in the
country now find it difficult to pay
their workers’ monthly salaries
because of this drop in federal
allocations,” Okolie said.
He, therefore, commended
Gov. Ikpeazu’s move to revive
Golden Guinea Breweries in
Umuahia, describing it as a
welcome development. He,
however, suggested that the state
government should not own
100 per cent equity shares in the
brewery.
“Government should have at
most 30 per cent equity shares
so as to allow the management
of the brewery to be in the hands
of private people who are expert
in managing such companies.
Government should also carry
along the host community in order
to protect equipment and facilities
in that brewery,” he added.
Okolie said that pragmatic
efforts should be made to revive
industries like the cashew industry
in Enugu, the ceramics industry in
Umuahia, among others, which
had become moribund. “The
industrial sector is a critical sector
of any economy; it helps a country
not to depend completely on
foreign products.
“Nigeria is a dumping ground
for foreign goods today because of
the years of neglect which led to the
collapse of many industries. Other
governors in South East should
emulate the Abia governor’s good
example of reviving the popular
Golden Guinea Brewery Umuahia,
in efforts to improve the economy
of their states and reducing
unemployment,” he said.
Analysts underscore the
need to for the federal, state
and local governments to
resuscitate all the moribund
industries in their domains.
“This because industries provide
employment opportunities for
the youth, particularly graduates
of engineering and physical
sciences,’’ some of the analysts
said. (NAN)


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