The Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) says it will continue to give necessary support and assistance to the revival of Multi-Trex, a cocoa processing plant in the country.
Its Managing Director, Mr Abba Bello, made the promise during a facility tour to Multi-Trex Integrated Foods in Ogun by the management of the bank and members of House of Representative Committee on Banking and Currency.
Bello said that NEXIM had in the past supported the cocoa value chain by funding major cocoa processing plants and, therefore, would continue to collaborate with other stakeholders for the development of the cocoa industry.
Meanwhile, Multi-Trex factory has remained closed since Friday, June 26, 2015 due to an Interim Order of the Federal High Court.
The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) claimed that the company had a debt of N13.3 billion being the contested sum of N8.5 billion Eligible Bank Asset (EBA) bought from Skye Bank.
The figure also includes AMCON’s own interest calculated for the period that the company has been prohibited by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from accessing working capital for its operations.
Bello advised entrepreneurs in cocoa processing value chain to take advantage of the CBN’s N500 billion incentives at single digit interest rate.
He said that the bank, as part of its mandate, was committed to promoting export-oriented investments in the non-oil sector of the economy.
Bello added that the bank would help Multi-Trex with its loan process application, but this would be after the company had settled its loan repayment to AMCON.
“It is our determination to bring back Multi-Trex to life. This will create jobs and encourage export.
“Looking at the huge investment and available equipment in the factory, NEXIM Bank considers it very important to support the project which has the prospect of creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the state.”
He said that the company only needed working capital and therefore advised the management of the company to show more commitment toward the revival of the cocoa processing plant.
Mr John Onyereri, the Chairman, House Committee on Banking and Currency, said loans at reduced interest rates should be given to entrepreneurs for them to contribute their quota to the national growth.
Onyereri said that the private sector must be stimulated to grow the economy.
“It is so annoying that we pride ourselves to have the biggest economy in Africa, while our private sector’s contribution to the GDP is small.”
Onyereri assured the company that the committee would give its support in seeing that the company came back to business fully.
“We are pushing as parliament and we will keep pushing.
“At a point, we will do that because we have the will, but nothing is achievable until there is an executive approval.”
Mr Dimeji Owofemi, the Managing Director of Multi-Trex, said that cocoa business, as a non-oil business, could generate more foreign exchange revenue for the country.
Owofemi advised that continuous collaboration by CBN, NEXIM and Bank of Industry (BOI) would help to fast-track the revival of the cocoa processing plant.
Accoding to him, the company will create more job opportunities for Nigerians once it starts operations fully.
Oladimeji said that the company needed a working capital of between N4 billion and N5 billion for its business to be on-going, adding that the price of a tonne of cocoa was N1 million in the last season.
He assured that the company would be able to process 65,000 tonnes at full capacity and this would make it possible for the Multi-Trex to be able repay the facilities on time.
“The role we will expect the committee to play is to bring the three legs of Bank of Industry, NEXIM and the Bank of Agriculture together so that the risk will be shared because the higher the risk, the higher the return,” Oladimeji said.
He thanked NEXIM and CBN for their continuous support to exporters in carrying out their obligations, thereby adding value to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Amaka E. Nliam