Â Emmanuel Ugwu, Umuahia
The moribund Golden Guinea Brewery Umuahia is set to bounce back after 16 years of inactivityÂ followingÂ a lifeline of $10 million it obtained from the Nigeria Export and Import Bank (NEXIM).
The brewery was established in 1962 by the defunct Eastern Region under the premiership of late Dr. Michael Okpara but it became comatose in 2001 following the explosion of its boiler.
The new lease of life was made known by the acting managing director of NEXIM, Bashir Wali during the oversight visit of members of the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency to the brewery.
He said that NEXIM was motivated to extend the loan facility to Golden Guinea because of its profitability due to the high demand for beer as beverage as well as the huge potential of the brewery to create jobs when it resumes production.
Wali said that NEXIM was acting in tandem with governmentâ€™s policy to revive moribund industries, adding that the positive impact of resuscitating the brewery would be felt not only in the local environment but in the country as a whole.
Aside from NEXIM, Heritage Bank is also deeply involved in financing the revival of Golden Guinea, which incidentally is among the legacies for which Michael Okpara is remembered as visionary leader.
Chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, Hon Jones Onyeriri explained that he led the committee members to inspect the project which has attracted the funding facility from NEXIM, adding that the investment bank has done the right thing.
â€œThis is the way to go,â€ he said, adding, â€œWe must get this place (Golden guinea Brewery) rolling.â€
While pledging that the House committee would bring the attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the plight of the brewery with respect to sourcing foreign exchange, Onyeriri noted that â€œit is high time we started encouraging indigenous manufacturersâ€.
An elated managing director of the brewery, Ifeanyi Idika, announced that â€œwe are on the threshold of a historic event in the business history of Nigeriaâ€.
He said that the brewery was now ready to start production with â€œa push of the buttonâ€ but was being held back due to lack of working capital. Massive rehabilitation work has taken place in the brewery, including installation of a new plant, capable of producing 48,000 bottles per hour, two brand new boilers with a third one in the pipeline while effective water and power supply have been put in place.
Idika stated that Golden Guinea was coming back with its full stable that include Golden Guinea lager beer, Eagle stout, Bergerdoff , among others.