Uba, from royal family, is seasoned entrepreneur
Decries harsh operating environment
Saby Elemba in Owerri
The mantle to lead the Imo-Abia branch of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) fell on Obasi Uba at its 36th annual general meeting held at the Hotel Du Golf Limited, Aba the commercial city of Abia State. Uba brings to the chairmanship position a strong industry and entrepreneurial pedigree.
Uba is the founder/chairman, Akutrop Nafta Gas Drilling Limited, executive director of Akachi Industries Limited (also known as Geepee Group of companies) in Aba, the commercial city of Abia State. He has also served as a Ship Owner’s representative at Lambert Brothers Ship Brokering Agency Limited, Ilford, Essex, England; Owner’s representative of Medafrica Shipping Line SPA; director of Noli International Shipping Agency; founder/chairman, Polestar Industries Limited, Aba, and founder/chairman, Polestar Communication Limited.
Having developed an enviable responsible approach to entrepreneurial and managerial leadership and having acquired the ability to work and has exhibited same, working with many people and motivating people by ensuring an excellent working conditions where ever he is, Uba is expected to bring his managerial and entrepreneurial experiences with his new council members to prevail on the governments of Imo and Abia States to enhance the manufacturing environment which has remained unfavourable in both states, some industrialists who spoke at the conference said.
Uba, speaking on the forex crisis in the country, decried the depth the naira has plunged against the US dollar which is causing job losses, factory shutdown, adding that manufacturers have been expressing concern over the falling value of the naira for long.
He warned that the situation would lead to the shutting down of more factories and more job losses.
“The naira has maintained a downward trend since the Central Bank of Nigeria allowed a free float of the national currency against the dollar and other global currencies in June. This decline has further led to manufacturers struggling to get raw materials, with more companies planning to sack more workers or shut down,” he said.
Uba also said some manufacturers borrowed money from the bank and will not be able to honour their obligation, noting that it is such a multidimensional problem.
“They will not be able to service the loans. Some of us import our raw materials from other countries, which means the cost of raw materials will also be mounting. Cost of diesel and cost of petrol. These problems will kill SMEs. As I speak, many businesses have closed shop because of these problems,” Uba said.
He noted that marketing the Nigerian made products has been a big challenge because many foreign products are contesting with the local products in Nigeria.
According to him, “some of these products are not even of high quality like ours, so there is no way to benchmark them, because they are cheaper.”