By Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
Forty years after its establishment, dying Plateau Investment and Property Company (PIPC) has been resuscitated and engaged by Governor Simon Lalong to assist his government in revenue drive to compensate for the dwindling economic fortune of the nation.
Briefing newsmen on its many engagements in the past nine months, Chairman, Technical Board of PIPC, Nde Ezekiel Gomos, lamented that the hitherto vibrant investment and property company was literally killed by the Jonah Jang administration in the name of restructuring; where all staff of the company were sacked, and the new staff that took over knew nothing about the company.
“That was what informed our coming in as a technical board to inject some experience into reviving the company.
“We recalled the sacked staff and realised even before their so-called sack, they’ve not been paid for one year. So we began by clearing all their salary arears. The company was also recording serious financial losses during the so-called restructuring which reached about N29 million; in about nine months we’ve been able to clear that also, and the company is now profitable. We also inherited an overdraft balance of N19 million taken from a Commercial bank, which we have also paid,” he said.
Outlining some of the activities of the company to help the state in generating revenue, Gomos said works are on-going at reviving the Bokkos Fertilizer Company that was abandoned since 2003, and at Highland Bottling Company, Barkin Ladi to resuscitate them and make them good sources of revenue generation for the state.
Gomos said PIPC partnered with the wife of the Governor, Mrs Regina Lalong, to train over 100 women in entrepreneurship and skill acquisition as part of the International Women Day celebration in Plateau State.
He added that aside from reviving Business Foundation radio magazine programme, PIPC recently sponsored the first ever dinner hosted by Governor Lalong with the business community in Jos in the month of July.
In its nine months of operation, the technical board assured that it has put a robust machinery in place towards the rebuilding of Jos Main Market through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) by driving the process that led to the signing contact of N232 million with a UK company for due Technical Advisory Services. He also stated that within the period they have renovated six–storey corporate headquarters -Murtala House.
Commending self for a laudable job in a space of nine months, the technical board said, “Six of our houses in Gwarimpa Estate, Abuja have been renovated and rented out to tenants; and we have invested N75 million in a property in Rayfield, Jos; we have also designed and sold 90 plots from the Racecourse Turf Club along Bauchi road; and we have been able to track and recovered all the investments of the company valued at about N155 million that were lost during the so-called restructuring exercise.”
He said that Plateau State government can now hope that with all that PIPC has put in place to generate revenue for the state, in the medium and long term, the economic crunch biting hard on the nation would be cushioned.