James Emejo in Abuja
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Richard Adebayo, has assured of the federal government’s support for the takeoff of the fully automated, water-based paint factory by Berger Paints Plc.
He said the plant, expected to be ready in December and commissioned in the first quarter of next year, would help to “create jobs, eradicate and take ten million Nigerians out of poverty, we are looking at industrialisation and agriculture.”
Speaking when he received members of the company’s board and management team, led by its Chairman, Mr. Abi Ayida, who paid him a courtesy visit, the minister said he had a mandate to support private sector industrial growth.
Adebayo said: “We are proud of what your management is doing and we are ready to support you. I am not unaware of some of the challenges facing the paint industry in Nigeria. But we are working round the clock to address them.”
Earlier, the chairman had informed the minister that the plant had reached the final stage of factory acceptance testing, adding that the N2 billion investment would help create jobs for Nigerians, strengthen the naira and sustain the local paint market.
He said the project was expected to be formally commissioned in the first quarter of 2020 by the minister.
Ayida, also described the plant, which he said was built to international standards, as the first of its kind in the Sub-Saharan Africa.
Ayida, said the company was on the cusp of a major revolution in the paint industry with the fully automated Water-based paint factory.
According to him, the plant has adequate capacity for large volume production with derived benefits of increasing local capacity, thereby reducing importation of finished products and consequently strengthening the local currency.
He said: “The new fully automated factory is expected to activate the industrialisation era of the paint sector in Nigeria as this will be the trend going forward.”
He, however, appealed to the government for improved access to foreign exchange for the importation of raw materials, which according to him account for about 80 per cent of the industry’s inputs.
The chairman also sought for the promotion of paint technology in the nation’s tertiary institutions by including such in school curriculum to deepen local expertise.
The company which has 100 per cent indigenous ownership commenced operations in the country in January 1959.