BENIN CITY- The trade war between the United States and China has
caused a sharp drop in the demand for Crude Palm Oil (CPO), with
global demand plummeting to an all time low and this has been
exacerbated by the high tax regime placed by India on CPO coming from
Nigeria, raising huge concerns on exports by Nigerian companies.
Worried over the development, Managing Director of Okomu Oil Palm
Company, Dr. Graham Hefer who made the disclosure at the sidelines of
a training workshop for 19 host communities at its Extension 1
Plantation recently said that it will absorb the shocks of
profit-flight through exploring innovating marketing opportunities in
product packaging to suit the needs of local consumers so as to
further enhance its profit-base and build shareholders confidence.
The company which during the occasion awarded bursaries to the
children of the host communities assured that its Corporate Social
Responsibility ( CSR) held twice yearly will continue to hold inspite
of markets shocks, disclosing that the sum of seven million naira had
been spent in fulfilling the bursary programme for this year on 36
beneficiaries with additional three and a half million naira expended
on children of host communities to acquire skills in various
Hear him: ‘’ Okomu Oil Palm Company has ongoing corporate social
responsibility programme with its host communities, it is an annual
event held twice a year. Basically it starts with a training
programme, we try to train our communities to ensure that there is
better communication so that we can work together closely. We also use
it to honour those students who are in the Universities as well as
skills acquisition and we have been doing this since the last five
years. We have 19 communities and these are the communities we
primarily deal with. The turn out is encouraging and it shows that the
communities are interested in partnering with us.
‘’ Commodities prices are very low now because of the trade war
currently going on between China and the United States. Soya bean has
been bought by China at cheaper prices and also India has put a tax on
import of CPO, India being the largest importer in the world, and this
problem is out of our hand and we only hope that this problem will
soon be resolved. For us it means that everyone has to tighten its
belt in a small way and we will get through it and come out stronger
at the other end. We will explore other market avenues that we feel
can add value to our products and you will start seeing them soon.
However, on alleged threat by some Ijaw group to companies operating
in the area to recognise their kingship via a threat letter, Dr. Hefer
said that the company was not in receipt of such a letter and it is
not aware of such notice to anyone.
A participant at the training, Prince Ogbemudia Benjamin and the
Chairman of Udo community commended the company for what it is doing
in the area, saying that on its own it is their responsibility to
create the enabling environment for the company to thrive and however
emphasized the pre-eminence of the Oba of Benin as the only recognized
traditional authority and that they are not aware of any threat
letters to companies operating in the area.
Also speaking, an Ijaw leader, Hon Wuluku Godwin said his people are
trying to build a relationship with the company and noted that perhaps
there were some unscrupulous elements who don’t want the relationship
with the company to move on as expected, noting that such threat
letters may have been written by them.