As part of efforts to fulfil his campaign promise of creating 200,000 jobs in four years, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, has promised that his administration would partner Guinness PLC in achieving that feat.
Obaseki made the promise on Tuesday in Benin at the commissioning the Company’s N4.8 billion new Spirits production lines.
According to him, “The way we hope to accomplish this target is to work with your company and such others who are located here or close by in our agribusiness plan.
”As part of the outsourcing, we would like to partner with you or your suppliers to make land available, create incentives for production and get a lot of our young people to begin to cultivate some of the base products, like cassava and some of the grains you require for your production. In so doing, we will also create incentives to ensure that they are competitive in the prices they give to your company.”
Governor Obaseki who relieved his personal relationship with Guinness as a Stockbroker, recalled how the Company spent £30 million some years ago to expand the Benin plant, saying “as governor, I am pleased to perform my first corporate function by commissioning the Spirits’ line of the Company.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Babatunde Savage, said that the production line, with a design capacity of 1.2 million cases and the first of its kind in Nigeria, would offer a wider opportunity to provide quality products for its numerous consumers.
He noted that while the company strived to achieve its business objectives, it had also continued to live up with its corporate social obligations.
”With this line, we are now able to produce previously imported spirits locally. What this means is that we are able to offer a wider variety of products to our consumers at a more affordable price point.
“You will recall that on January 1, 2016, we also took over the distribution right of Diageo’s International Premium Spirits brands in Nigeria. Now, with this addition of locally manufactured spirits to our portfolio, we are the first and only truly total Beverage alcohol company in Nigeria.
“These developments in our business are a testament to our long-term commitment to Nigeria and our continuing evolution, as a truly Nigerian company listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange and co-owned by over 70,000 Nigerians”, Savage said.
In his speech, the President of Diego Africa,
John O’Keeffie, noted that the new investment was a demonstration of the importance of the Edo market to the company, adding that it would further strengthen its local materials such as sorghum and maize.
“As part of our broader local raw materials sourcing, we are looking to increase our locally sourced production inputs to 70 per cent in the coming years and this fits in nicely with the Diageo ambition to get LRM sourcing across the continent to 80 per cent by 2020 and I believe we are on track to achieve this”, he said.
It was learnt that the new Spirits plant was in line with the company’s strategic plans to reduce spending on imports, increase exports and generate foreign exchange and that It is one example of British companies growing their market share in Nigeria.