By Dipo Olowookere
In a move aimed at reducing the import dependent profile of the Nigerian economy, creating more jobs and boosting the local sourcing of raw materials, leading manufacturer and Nigeria’s only total alcohol beverage company, Guinness Nigeria Plc, has commissioned a new production line that will support the local manufacturing of some of its spirits brands in Nigeria.
Some of the brands to be manufactured locally include Smirnoff X1 intense chocolate vodka, Smirnoff Extra Smooth Vodka, Gordon’s Dry Gin, Moringa Citrus Blend, McDowell’s No. 1 Reserved Whisky, McDowell’s VSOP and Royal Challenge Finest Premium Whisky.
The production line, with a design capacity of 1.2 million cases, is located within the Guinness Brewery, Ikpoba Hill, Benin city.
It was commissioned by the Executive Governor of Edo state, Mr Godwin Obaseki at amidst pomp, fanfare and commendation for this landmark stride by Guinness Nigeria.
Governor Obaseki, who nostalgically recalled his long personal relationship with the brand as a stockbroker, commended the board and management of Guinness Nigeria for this feat, and urged other companies to see the current economic recession as an opportunity for backward integration and expansion of their business horizons.
“This is a company I am very close to and very fond of, and so, I am quite excited that one of my first official corporate functions as Governor is to commission the new spirits line for the company.
“We are very pleased that Guinness is part of the landscape of Benin and Edo State, and has been so since 1974.
“And so, for us, you are a partner, and as a state, we will take our partnership very seriously. Even though the economic environment in Nigeria today is quite challenging and difficult, for us in Edo State, we see opportunities embedded in those challenges,” Mr Obaseki said.
Governor Obaseki also used the occasion to announce that the Edo state government would like to partner with Guinness Nigeria to create a minimum of two hundred thousand jobs over the next four years in line with his administration’s agenda.
In his remarks, Chairman, Guinness Nigeria, Mr Babatunde Savage described the commissioning as part of the company’s rich and prestigious legacy and a testament to its long term commitment to Nigeria.
“Guinness Nigeria has a strong heritage in Nigeria and in Benin since we built our brewery here in 1974 with a robust portfolio of global brands like Guinness and Johnnie Walker to boot.
“Today, we add to that strong heritage with the commissioning of our spirits production line in Nigeria – a first for Guinness Nigeria. With this line, we are now able to produce previously imported spirits locally and we are able to offer a wider variety of products to our consumers at a more affordable price point,” Savage enthused.
Mr Savage also reiterated the company’s commitment to making a marked and positive difference in the lives of Nigerians via strategic social interventions.
“As a responsible corporate citizen, Guinness Nigeria is interested in more than running a profitable business, we are also enriching our communities with investments in the areas of provision of water, health facilities and education scholarships to mention a few.
“As an example, in the water sector to date, we have impacted over 1.5million people in Nigeria through the provision of potable water to 25 communities in 14 States across Nigeria,” Mr Savage said.
President, Diageo Africa, Mr John O’Keffe, noted that the commissioning reinforces Guinness Nigeria’s position as the first and only Total Beverage Alcohol (TBA) Company in Nigeria.
“Guinness Nigeria is now able to offer a truly broad portfolio of beer, spirits and non-alcoholic drinks to consumers at every category and price point. Innovation is a competitive advantage for us in this market and we have a strong innovation pipeline with plans to introduce some exciting new products for our consumers to enjoy.
Also our commitment to local sourcing is further strengthened by the commissioning of this plant that will produce preciously imported spirits, using locally supplied raw materials. As part of our broader local raw materials (LRM) sourcing, we are looking to increase our locally sourced production inputs to 70% in the coming years,” Mr O’Keffe mentioned.
Some dignitaries present at the occasion include Managing Director, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr Peter Ndegwa, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright, Edo State Deputy Governor, Hon. Philip Shaibu, Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Osarodion Ogie, Edo State Head of Service, Mrs Gladys Idahor, the Chief of Staff, Edo State Government, Mr Taiwo Akerele.
BREAKING: Supreme Court Stops Banning of Old Naira Notes
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Supreme Court on Wednesday restrained the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from banning the use of old Naira notes in the country from Friday, February 10, 2023.
In a ruling today by a seven-member panel led by Justice John Okoro, the apex court said Nigerians with old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes should be allowed to transact businesses without a restriction after the deadline fixed by the apex bank.
The CBN had earlier said the old notes would cease to be legal tender from January 31, 2023, but after pressure from various quarters, the deadline was moved forward to February 10.
But the Governors of Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara States sought an ex parte order from the Supreme Court to stop the federal government through the CBN or the commercial banks from going ahead with the deadline.
While delivering a ruling in the motion, Justice Okoro approved the “order of interim injunction restraining the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) or the commercial banks from suspending or determining or ending on February 10, 2023, the time frame with which the now older version of the 200, 500 and 1,000 denomination of the naira may no longer be legal tender pending the hearing and determination of their motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.”
ICPC Arrests Sterling Bank Managers for Hoarding N258m New Notes
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Two Sterling Bank managers in Abuja have been apprehended by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
A statement from the ICPC disclosed that its operatives arrested the Regional and Service Managers of the financial institution last Friday for hoarding N258 million in the bank’s vault.
The new Naira notes were given to Sterling Bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to disbursement to customers to ease the tension caused by Naira scarcity.
“As part of ongoing efforts at ensuring that commercial banks comply with the CBN’s directive on the distribution of the redesigned Naira notes, operatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) last Friday discovered the sum of N258 million stashed in the vault of Sterling Bank in Abuja.
“This discovery followed one of the commission’s operations at ensuring that commercial banks and other interest groups do not flout the apex bank’s directive.
“When the ICPC monitoring team visited the bank and discovered the stashed new Naira notes in the bank’s vault, it was informed that the cash was the remnant of what the CBN had given the bank for onward distribution to its branches.
“The team, however, found out that only the sum of N5 million each was distributed to their various branches.
“Both the Regional and Service Managers were arrested and later granted administrative bail while the investigation continues,” the statement issued by the spokesperson of the ICPC, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, stated.
Wema Bank Gives Nigerians Option to Buy New Samsung Diamond Series on Credit
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Nigerians intending to purchase the new Samsung Diamond Series phones but are short of funds can now fulfil their fantasy through Wema Bank Plc.
The financial institution, through its digital banking arm, Wema by ALAT, has partnered with the South Korean manufacturing giant, Samsung Electric Industries, to sell smartphones to customers in Nigeria.
According to the Chief Digital Officer of Wema Bank, Mr Olusegun Adeniyi, prospective buyers can make a partial payment or buy on credit for any of the models in the series.
“This partnership between ALAT and Samsung will simplify the acquisition of high-end gadgets, provide customers with multiple payment options, and simplify logistics,” he stated.
“Our current and prospective customers who desire to own any of the models of the new Samsung Diamond Series phones can pre-order their choice on ALAT.
“They can also choose their preferred pick-up locations, and their orders will be delivered to their preferred destination,” he explained.
Additionally, Mr Adeniyi encouraged prospective buyers to take advantage of the partnership’s partial payment and credit options.
“Customers can either make full payment or pay a 30 per cent equity contribution from their selected account, after which the devices can be picked up at the preferred locations selected on their Pre-Order Forms.
“Individuals who wish to buy on credit can do so through the device loan feature on ALAT.” The banker added.
The bank noted that while customers will be notified by email or phone call through one of their contact agents when their order is delivered to their preferred locations, those who want to track the status of their orders can do so via telephone at 07000PURPLE or 08039003700, or via WhatsApp chat at 09044411010.
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