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Obi Cubana insists Odogwu Bitters will create over 5000 jobs for Nigerians

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Obinna Iyiegbu, commonly known as Obi Cubana, Chairman, Cubana Group, expresses his willingness to create over 5000 fresh jobs for Nigerians with the unveiling of his bitters brand of herbal alcoholic beverage, Odogwu Bitters.

As the Chairman of Cubana Group, one of the subsidiaries of your group recently launched Odogwu Bitters. Can you tell us what the drink is all about, and how you intend to use it in boosting the economy?

First and foremost, let me say the new investment would gulp between N2 billion and N20 billion in the next 24 months.

To answer the first aspect of the question, Odogwu Bitters is a drink for all classes of people, and it is a herbal alcoholic drink. It contains an ancient herbal mix which also includes honey and ginger.

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This recipe has been trusted and proven to guarantee a fast and efficient result in the body.

We also gathered that every opportunity that is inherent in the process of distributing the drinking will be used to empower the people. Can you throw light on this?

Yes, it is true .One of the decisions taken on the product distribution was based on trust and we are prepared through the product distribution to empower people without startup fund, but trusted to return the money.

In terms of positioning the brand in the competitive market, what are you looking at?

We are looking beyond the Nigerian shore. We hope to position it and compete on both local and international market.

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We are poised to take the new beverage beyond the shores of Nigeria. In fact, we are already exporting to some African and European countries.

Our intention is to hit the United States with the drink, and we have already made a big statement by placing the advert in Times Square.

What measure do you intend adopting to checkmate the efforts of unscrupulous business people that may resort to faking the drink?

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We have already put a measure tagged DnD (Drink and Destroy) on ground.

Explanatorily put, the measure entails a culture of checkmating criminal elements from faking the product.

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Every other details concerning the strategy cannot be disclosed in this parley as it is not inadvisable being part of our marketing strategy.

What makes Odogwu Bitter different from other brands of bitters in the market?

What we want to achieve with Odogwu Bitters is to luxuriate bitters.

Bitters is usually consumed by those in the lower stratum of the societal ladder, but we want to change that; we want to improve the quality of bitters so much that those in the upper echelon of the society will desire it.

In fact, we deploy high quality technology to blend it and we have even added some other ingredients such as honey and ginger to improve its quality, yet the price is at par with others in the market.

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Our marketing strategy is such that Odogwu Bitters will be sold in major countries of the world. Already, we are making plans to sell it in the USA, United Kingdom, South Africa and other countries.

I assure Nigerians that, ‘white people’ will take Odogwu. And that means foreign exchange earnings for the country.

So, apart from creating employment opportunities locally and empowering critical sectors of the economy, we will also generate forex for the country.

Can you tell us the extent to which job will be created and the capacity of your factory?

The current capacity of our factory is 200,000 cartons a month.

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Our first production was 100,000 cartons, but to my amazement, these were exhausted in less than 48 hours.

So, we have already started making plans to increase our production capacity. We are looking at doing one million cartons in a month. That means increasing our current capacity five times.

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Now, we have about 300 employees. By the time our new factories come on stream, we will have no fewer than 5,000 employees, and not only that, over N20 billion would be invested in the company within the next two years.

The company would also create tens of thousands of indirect jobs through local sourcing of raw materials, haulage and packaging.

How is the company been funded?

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The project is funded by Fidelity Bank. For the first phase, N2 billion was approved , but we are looking at injecting additional N20 billion into the business within the next 24 months.

Having made your marks in other areas of business ventures such as in hospitality industry and real estate, why do you decide to go into bitters production?

Yes, we ventured into production of drinks to bridge the gap in the industry. What we want to achieve with Odogwu Bitters is to luxuriate bitters.

Bitters is usually consumed by those in the lower stratum of the societal ladder, but we want to change that, we want to improve the quality of bitters so much that those in the upper echelon of the society will desire it.

As earlier disclosed in this parley, we deploy high quality technology to blend it and we have even added some other ingredients such as honey and ginger to improve its quality, yet the price is at par with others in the market.

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There is no doubt that the distillery industry is highly competitive, particularly from local point of view as players in the sector have been lamenting before now. What do you intend to do to mitigate this challenge?

Beyond advertising and marketing, we may consistently invest in reward scheme to strengthen relationship with distributors and consumers. In spite of the challenges that the sector is faced with, the we will continue to work hard to ensure that Odogwu Bitters is always available and Customers’ complaints promptly resolved at all times.

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Again, to sustain loyalty of our patrons, we may resort to holding annual Distributors awards and the relaunch of our products when it experiences decline.

These, as you know, are normal for any investor in our kind of industry.

In fact, I must admit that with many business owners within and outside African continent looking in the direction of the Nigerian market, the terrain appears to have become more competitive, even as consumers too seem to have become more sophisticated and selective.

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As a result of this, each of the players is engaging the market through different positioning approaches to gain competitive edge. Of course, in our own part, we are not going to be operating and fold our hands looking; we have to compete because it is a huge market.

There is no denying the fact that with the production of Odogwu bitters that you will no doubt be operating within an industry where manufacturers are prone to be stifled by excessive taxation, excise duties among the imposition of other cost. In this case, what can you tell the federal government as a way of appealing that the sector should be given enabling environment to operate?

The only appeal I can extend to the Federal Government in this parley for now is that downward review of excise duties for Wines and Spirits should be considered.

Again, that there is need for the government to ameliorate bad infrastructure, especially roads linking production sites of many companies as well as roads linking major cities. You will agree with me that the current state of the roads have become a hindrance in the distribution of products and goods across the nation.

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Elumelu says strong insurance sector foundation for strong Nigeria

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Tony Elumelu, CON, Chairman, Heirs Holdings and United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), giving a keynote address at the recent 60th anniversary of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) conference, underlined the importance of a vibrant, well capitalised and deep insurance sector to Nigeria’s economy.

“Not least in these testing times, our people need financial security, secure savings and protection against uncertainty. Our industry needs to offer simple, smart products, that give value and deliver. We need an industry that is professional and can catalyse investment in key sectors such as power, infrastructure and housing”.

Elumelu congratulated the NCRIB on its anniversary and the role it has played, joining other prominent guests including Commissioner for Insurance and the President of NCRIB. But he stated there was no room for complacency, with the sector needing to regain trust, stamp down on malpractice and fundamentally evolve its customer proposition to deepen the insurance penetration.

He emphasised the commitment of Heirs Holdings to the insurance industry.

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He said: “Our two insurance companies, Heirs Life Assurance and Heirs Insurance Limited, are both leading democratisation of access to insurance – which is a tool for financial inclusion, employment creation, poverty eradication and female advancement. In a country of two hundred million, we can, should and must be more relevant than we are today. I am an optimist, not a pessimist. I know that times are tough, but together we can, and we will transform our industry, create value, and provide solutions that demonstrate the value of insurance to our people.”

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Reiterating Elumelu’s stance, Mr. Sunday Thomas, Commission for Insurance called for more collaboration and effort in enabling access to insurance, stating that the industry could do more in this prospect.

He said: “It is a fundamental truth that the insurance sector exists for other sectors to thrive. A lot has been achieved, but there is still more work to be done. Until insurance becomes the oxygen that homes and other industries breathe, and a subject that is known to everyone, we have not arrived”.

The President, NCRIB, Barrister Rotimi Edu, appreciated Elumelu for delivering the keynote speech at the event, while making a commitment on behalf of the Council to further deepen insurance penetration in Nigeria.

He said: “The Council is already creating avenues through strategic engagements with notable governmental and non-governmental institutions to deepen the industry in the country”.

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Heirs Insurance and Heirs Life are lead sponsors of the NCRIB 60th Anniversary, alongside investment group United Capital Plc and healthcare management company, Avon HMO, all investee companies of Heirs Holdings, a pan-African investment group, with a portfolio spread across 24 African countries and four continents.

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150 Years: FrieslandCampina Pays Tribute to Member Dairy Farmers

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To mark the end of its 150th anniversary year, FrieslandCampina presents its new short film, A New Day. The film pays tribute to the many generations of dairy farmers who have made FrieslandCampina what it is today; a dynamic, forward-looking dairy cooperative and a global company.

‘A New Day’ tells the story of the next generation of farmers, focused on the future of dairy farming with lots of passion and determination, while adapting to the rapidly changing world.

According to Hein Schumacher, CEO FrieslandCampina: “We are very proud of our farmers and our cooperative heritage. For over 150 years, our member farmers have always managed to adapt to what the market and society demand from them. By actively responding to evolving needs and constantly innovating, they have developed themselves into very innovative farmers.

“I have great admiration for the next generation of farmers, especially in these tense and uncertain times. They are building the future of sustainable dairy farming, with the same commitment and unwavering spirit as the many generations before them. This film is our tribute to all dairy farmers, young and old,” Schumacher said.

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Also commenting, Ben Langat, Managing Director, FrieslandCampina Sub-Saharan Africa said, “The story of our cooperative is a special one. ‘A New Day’ celebrates our farmers who are playing that critical role in bringing better nutrition to the tables of families across Sub-Saharan Africa. FrieslandCampina Sub-Saharan Africa salutes our farm heroes and remains steadfast in our commitment and support to the development and prosperity of our local dairy farmers.”

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The four-minute film tells the story of three young dairy farmers who are on a journey, sometimes literally, as they face dilemmas, make choices and emerge stronger, ready for a new day. The film shows the challenges they are facing in this rapidly changing world. ‘A New Day’ is the sequel to ‘The Story of Milk, produced in 2012, also by corporate cinema agency 1Camera.

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Watch it below.

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Asia’s richest man sees growing isolation for China

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Theheute-

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani says that China “will feel increasingly isolated” and the “foremost champion of globalization” would find it hard to bounce back from a period of economic weakness.

Speaking at a conference in Singapore on Tuesday, Adani said “increasing nationalism, supply chain risk mitigation, and technology restrictions,” as well as resistance to Beijing’s huge Belt and Road initiative, would impact China’s global role.

Asia’s richest man said that “housing and credit risks” in the world’s second largest economy were also “drawing comparisons with what happened to the Japanese economy during the ‘lost decade’ of the 1990s.”

Adani was speaking less than a month after the business mogul became the world’s third richest man, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He is the first Asian to take that spot.

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The founder of the eponymous Adani Group controls companies ranging from ports to power.

While pessimistic about China, Adani remains bullish about his own country, saying that India is “one of the few relatively bright spots from a political, geostrategic, and market perspective.”

He anticipates India to become the world’s third largest economy by 2030, with “the largest consuming middle class the world will ever see.”

Some technology firms looking to reduce their dependence on Chinese manufacturing already see India as an attractive alternative.

On Monday, Apple announced that it has started making its new iPhone 14 in India, as the technology giant looks to diversify its supply chain. While the company manufactures the bulk of its products in China, it has decided to start producing its latest devices in India much earlier than with previous generations.

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Businesses may have to move away from China not just because of its strict Covid restrictions, which have been hurting supply chains for months now, but also because of rising tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan.

The US government ordered two of America’s top chipmakers to stop selling high-performance chips to China earlier this month. And, last week, leaders of America’s biggest banks said they could exit China if it ever attacks Taiwan.

Adani also mentioned the challenges facing the United Kingdom, and countries in the European Union, because of the war in Ukraine and Brexit.

“While I expect all these economies will readjust over time — and bounce back — the friction of the bounce-back looks far harder this time,” he said.

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