By Emma Okonji
Worried about the huge financial loss to Omatek Ventures and the loss of jobs to several Nigerians following the closure of Omatek factory for over 24 months, on the request of the Bank of Industry (BoI) due to the failure of company to pay its loan debt, the Nigerian Computer Society (NCS), has called on the federal government to intervene by prevailing on the Bank to vacate the court order and reopen the factory.
The President of NCS, Prof. Adesola Aderounmu, who made the call in Lagos recently, said the need to vacate the court order and reopen the factory became necessary, since the closure of the factory for the past two years, had not been in the best interest of any of the stakeholders.
“Allow the company to reopen for business. Some of the goods and materials for which the loans were sought would have been obsolete and rusted away. Omatek is a major employer of Nigerian youth.
“At peak production it can employ over 600 teeming youth both directly and indirectly. Computer spares and consumables have expiry date as we know and if we are not careful, all the stock will rate zero value in no distant time,” Aderounmu said.
Omatek had been accused of defaulting on its facility with the Bank of Industry. According to the development bank, the company has refused to service the N5.81 billion, which it obtained in 2012.
The Bank said several measures had been employed to ensure Omatek keep to the repayment agreement, but all to no avail.
At the appointment of Mr. Yemi Ogundipe as the new Managing Director of Omatek Ventures in 2017, after the demise of its founder, Mrs. Florence Seriki, the new Managing Director had promised to make amends and repay the loan if stretched over a period of time, but till date, the commitment hasn’t been fulfilled because the factory has been put under lock and key by court pronouncement initiated by Bank of Industry, and businesses grounded in the last two years.
According to Aderounmu, “Government must intervene to address the matter because it is only while in business that repayment can commence. Omatek Ventures has indicated that it is open to settlement out of court.
“The company made this known in a letter to shareholders some time ago. The management of Omatek Ventures said it was exploring out of court settlement with BoI in order to reach an amicable agreement on the loan default. The continuous locking of the factory is therefore out of place.”
Omatek Ventures Plc is a listed company on the Nigerian Stick Exchange (NSE) with corporate focus in the assembling, sales, maintenance of computers, inverters and solar power products. It is an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) specialising in the local assembly of computer cases, speakers, keyboards and mouse, other than Computer systems and Notebooks in the whole of Africa.
Assembling of these components in its factory has created a great advantage to other systems builders as well as resellers all over Africa for retailing. This has created jobs and developed human capital, and a company of this calibre, should be allowed to operate,” Aderounmu said.