Renowned construction company, Julius Berger, has hand in every sturdy facility in the country today. Among them are bridges across the country to the Aso Villa, the National Assembly complex and the IBB Golf Club, where they host an annual golf tournament to raise funds for charity, reports Bennett Oghifo
In the last 13 years, Julius Berger has been engaged in raising funds from employees, friends and clients for the development of structures in communities where it operates.
The development work in these communities is based on Julius Berger’s principle that everybody’s “participation makes a difference. Giving back to host communities through charitable donations is a strong aspect of Julius Berger’s culture and business principles. The annual charity golf tournament is one way the company involves employees and communities in creating social progress.”
According to the company’s officials, the charity raised last year was matched by Julius Berger’s management, doubling the total sum. The donations were used at the Abak orphanage in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State to give them general support for their facilities and to the IT Centre in Yanyan, Nasarawa State to enable improve training for young adults in IT related skills.
The lush green and well manicured course of the IBB Golf Club on Aso Drive, Abuja has 18 holes, complete with a spacious club house. The regal building opens up to the sprawling greens at the back where armature golfers tee-off, with so much enthusiasm, as early as 6.30 AM. The play ended with a presentation of prizes to deserving winners and a raffle draw which had a business class Lufthansa Air return ticket to Germany as star prize. The event was laced with a king-size dinner.
Purpose of Charity Tournament…
Money raised during the golf tournament is used for charity. For instance, donations made at last year’s tournament were matched by Julius Berger, increasing the total sum available for donation to N2 million, said the Chairman of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, AVM Nura Imam. “One million was donated to Abak Orphanage in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, to give them general support for their facilities, and one million was donated to Nyanya IT Training Center in Nyanya, Abuja, to help them improve the training available for young adults on IT related skills.”
He specially lauded the IBB Golf and Country Club for their continued support of the tournament. The charity tournament started about three years ago to keep pace with the times, said the Julius Berger’s Public Relations Manager, Mr. Clement Iloba. “We are keeping pace with the culture of business. It is only recently that corporate social responsibility became popular in the part of the world. But outside this shores-in America and Europe-the issue of corporate bodies giving back to the society has always been on but did not catch up with this part of the world until recently.”
Iloba said, being a responsible corporate citizen, Julius Berger keeps pace with the time and deploys all its resources to be part of CSR. The company’s style is different because of its nature of work, which involved constant movement. “We are not located in any particular place perpetually and, for instance, when we finish a bridge in a place we move elsewhere but before we move we impact that community and environment.”
The projects include; literacy campaign, which is the latest to the construction of community roads, schools, boreholes, hospitals, among others, depending on the needs of the particular community, said Iloba.
The literacy campaign, he said is presently on across the country, particularly in the company’s major hubs-Lagos, Abuja and Uyo. “Hopefully we are going to continue that campaign this year. We are running parallel to that campaign what we call the ‘Book Drive’ and the essence of the campaign is to lift awareness in our communities. The foundation of any country in terms of development, particularly economic development is education.”
He said the company intervenes as its contribution to revive what has been considered the deplorable state of education in the country. “That is what we have just done as literacy programme, Book Drive, intervention in malaria and HIV AIDS as part of our CSR.
Promoting Technical Skills…
Julius Berger is also involved in technical skills acquisition, Iloba said. “We have training acquisition centres in Abuja and Lagos for skills acquisition and development. We train and retrain in these schools in skill areas suited for our work to deliver excellent and high quality infrastructure. Building durable infrastructure requires excellent training and we drive the culture into their work habit and that is why we are here today.”
Iloba said the culture of excellence could be seen in the quality of bridges and roads that Julius Berger builds. “The result is evident and can be touched, you can feel it. Staff hone their skills at these schools. There are different levels of training and, we have that for middle level manpower; skills like carpentry and iron bending, electrical, interlocking and that is where the work is.”
He said the second level is for graduates of engineering. “Some of our graduates are not employable and we take them through a process of retraining on the job.”
Julius Berger’s Managing Director…
The golf tournament was not about winning but about having fun, said the Managing Director of Julius Berger, Mr. Wolfgang Geotsch. The thanked the golfers for contributing to the development of communities in the country. “We have to work together for progress to be possible. We are proud that we can partner with you all of these 13 years. Next year will be better.”
IBB Golf Club’s Captain…
The Captain of the IBB Golf Club, Mr. Tony Azogu said Julius Berger found an ingenuous way to blend golf and charity. “I seize this opportunity to call on other corporate bodies operating in our country to follow the lead of Julius Berger Plc., in reaching out to the less privilege in our society.”
Julius Berger (JB) is a multiservice construction company that has been operating in Nigeria for nearly five decades. The company’s scope covers all areas of construction, including the pre and post phases.
JB traces its history back to the construction of the Eko Bridge, a major infrastructure development project in Lagos. Years of steady growth followed this initial undertaking and Julius Berger became a Public Limited Company (Plc), augmenting its development into the dynamic Nigerian company it is today. With employees from close to 40 nations and clients from both Nigeria and the global oil and gas industry, JB has become Nigeria’s leading construction company and largest private employer.
This success is built on the strategy of having vertically integrated operations, supported internationally through access to a knowledge bank fed by the company’s global network of specialists, who are consulted to unlock knowledge on cutting edge technologies worldwide. Further, JB’s operational excellence is a result of the company’s unwavering commitment to the ongoing training and education of staff members, as well as the nurturing of collaborative partnerships with clients and internationally recognized companies.
As a testament to JB’s unmatched quality, its pioneer project, Eko Bridge, still stands strong supporting tons of traffic in one of the world’s largest mega cities.
Julius Berger is headquartered in Nigeria’s Capital City of Abuja, with additional permanent locations in Lagos and Uyo. The company is also represented across the country in structural engineering and infrastructure works, and in southern Nigeria through domestic and international oil and gas industry projects. The company’s first project is Eko Bridge in Lagos. Following Julius Berger’s initial project in Lagos, the company began to diversify its portfolio and its growth started to run in parallel to the development of Nigeria.
Subsequently, the company’s structure also continued to develop. In 1970 JB’s legal structure was transformed into a private Limited Company (Ltd.). Later the company evolved into a Public Limited Company (Plc) and its shares became listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1991, attracting strong Nigerian shareholders who hold the majority of the company’s shares.
Throughout this time Julius Berger’s role in the development of Nigeria was also evolving. Proven to be a company that consistently delivered reliable solutions, JB became a pivotal partner in the building of the country’s fledgling industrial and civil infrastructure, and also a key collaborator in the building of Nigeria’s new capital, Abuja. This is not to mention construction of key roads, railways, ports and dams, which are all still part of the company’s portfolio.
Towards the end of the decade Julius Berger’s head office was relocated to Abuja, while key operational hubs were maintained throughout Nigeria. During this time JB completed its first major oil and gas industry projects, resulting in a significant expansion of the company’s service portfolio.
Today Julius Berger maintains its role as a partner in Nigeria’s progress, and is listed as Nigeria’s leading construction company.