The yearning of Benue state to achieve greatness through appropriate investment and management of its investments both in properties and businesses of the state gave rise to the incorporation of a Limited Liability Company (formerly Benue investment Company Limited) on the 18th October, 1979 and commenced operations in March, 1980.
The company is wholly owned by Benue State Government, and was established to spur economic growth of the State by deploying capital in commercial, viable and strategic business ventures that are crucial to the development of Benue state and be of economic benefit to its citizens.
The company’s investment module is focus on capitalization in stocks and projects that have development impact and provide tangible social benefit to the State.
The core mandate includes the following:
• Mobilize funds for the investment and development programmes of the state.
• Act as a catalyst for the speedy economic development of the state.
• Engage in portfolio investment activities.
• Investment in property development and management.
• Provide business advisory and management consultancy services to interested entrepreneurs in the State.
Apart from the aforementioned, the company also has responsibilities to provide infrastructure, woo investors, prepare loans for Small and Medium Scale entrepreneurs and manage shares of all State owned companies and investments.
The diversification approach embark upon by past managers of the company ranging from BIPC oil and Gas, BIPC Hotel and hospitality and the BIPC Microfinance bank has not really boosted the financial base of the company though it has succeeded in broadening the investment focus. Therefore there is a need to review and properly scrutinize the said approach so as to maximize profit and also complement the expensively paper value of the Company.
Most of the challenges faced by the company includes; lack of proper investment placements, paucity of investment funds, low returns on investments, lack of transparency, improper job placements, high cost of operation, lack of sufficient working tools and many others. Although the past managers over the years have tried in their own efforts to sustain the company but did not actually improve and expand its assets.
Round Peg in a Round Hole
On the 20th of August, 2019 the Executive Governor of Benue State Samuel Ortom approved the appointment of Barr. Alex Ter Adum as the new Managing Director of BIPC to take over from Mr. Alfred Adem who was in that capacity since June 2018.
Adum, is a lawyer and former Attorney General of Benue State under former Governor Gabriel Suswam and comes in with the mandate to turn the fortunes of the company in line with its core values.
With the appointment of Adum who also has specialty in communication law, he has brought his wealth of experience and connection with relevant stakeholders in the business community to bear on the fortunes of the state. It’s also expected that his coming would also galvanize the morale of the staff of the company to chart a new course in shoring up Benue’s struggling economy in a bid to achieve greatness through proper investment placements both in properties and other businesses.
In a bid to reinvigorate and go back to status quo so as to trade the path of the founding fathers of the company, Mr. Alex Adum presented a three (3) pages inaugural speech to the staff of BIPC on the 29th of August, 2019 tagged “A Call to Service: A paradigm shift at BIPC”. The focus of the speech is to restructure the company.
The Need for Restructuring
Restructuring is sometimes referred to as “self-help”. It is something a company can do on its own initiative to add value.
Companies often restructure during a downturn, so that they are best-positioned to take full advantage of any future improvement in business conditions.
By restructuring I mean the following;
• Cost restructuring
• Capital allocation changes
• New organizational structure
• Strong balance sheet
• New organizational structure: This idea is to streamline the supply chain, improve internal reporting, and increase the efficiency of the business for productivity.
• Cost cuts: The main cost of service organizations is staffing, and sadly this is the one area which is both under your control and able to deliver rapid and significant cost saving. So why trying to be a considerate employer you cannot refuse to contemplate redundancy.
• Strong balance sheet: A strong balance sheet is the key to surviving a downturn in every organization.
A critical presentation of the state of BIPC as done here is not a damning or pessimistic attack on a hated social formation. The reality is that stakeholders must first of all accept that there is a problem with BIPC before devising ways of helping the company. The point being made is that BIPC has great potentials, but also has serious challenges which can be effectively addressed going forward.
It is however, not yet uhuru for BIPC.
In general, the various positive reforms by Governor Samuel Ortom and the attendant positive outcomes already being experienced demonstrate the growing levels of incentives being offered to the investment community in Benue state to take advantage of the enormous opportunities that abound in the state. But much more efforts need to be put in place in that direction if BIPC is to catch up with its counterparts in Nigeria and beyond.
To be able to become the leading investment company in Nigeria come 2025, BIPC has to be seen to be making progress in that direction.
CCIT Unit BIPC