Improving the Internally Generated Revenue base of Borno State, tapping from the enormous hidden treasures of the Maiduguri Flour Mills shall be the subject of my discourse in the next few days.

Entrance Gates of the Maiduguri Flour Mills

I have been keenly following the activities of the Maiduguri Flour Mills in the last ten years when Alhaji Adamu Badejo was the General Manager. Badejo had served as General Manager of the mill for 27 years until his sack in 2013 and subsequent replacement with Maaji Arfo, who is the current General Manager.

Although the Maiduguri Flour Mills Limited is a limited liability company with its shareholding distributed among institutional as well individual investors, my findings show that the major shareholders of the company namely:  Chad basin Development Authority – 25.66%, Borno State Government – 18.16%, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Apapa – 16.67% , Yobe State Government – 14.85%, and New Nigeria Development Co. Ltd – 10.10%; with the exception of the Borno State Government, all have abandoned their obligations to the company which almost went comatose, but was revived by the administration of Governor Kashim Shettima, even though the company is still operating below the installed capacity due to a number of reasons.

The foundation stone of the mill was laid in May, 1981 and the official commissioning took place on 31st may, 1983 with full scale milling and production commencing thereafter. To date, the mill is about 30 years old.

The original installed capacity of the mill was 400 metric tonnes of wheat flour per-day.

In 2006/2007, the mill was re-furbished for optimal performance back to its original capacity for wheat milling. It ran for some period at almost its original capacity until it started declining gradually in performance. In the year 2010, the mills received another round of turn-around maintenance which improved the mills efficiency significantly.

At present, the mill can operate at a capacity of between 280 and 340 metric tonnes of wheat and Maize flour per- day, equivalent to 70% -85% of its installed capacity, but the frequent break downs for repairs/ maintenance coupled with inadequate spare parts/ components and the need for the replacement of some components and parts have reduced the efficiency for which the company was known for.

But after the taking over by the current Chief Executive, Maaji Arfo, he was able to use the in-house trained Engineers and staff to fabricate and fix most of the troublesome parts making the Mill look refurbished and working perfectly.

Maiduguri Flour Mills used to boast of producing the best Semovita (10kg) in the country then, because I happened to know all the millers who were well-trained and many a time I tried to tease them on the “secret” behind such great product, until one of them confessed to me that even the Dangote Groups tried to know the secret behind the Maiduguri-brand Semovita and they didn’t get it correctly.

Other products produced by the company include: Golden Penny Wheat Flour (Bag 50kg), Golden Penny Wheat Flour (Bag 10kg), and Wheat Offals (Bag 50kg).

These are the products produced in Maiduguri Flour Mills. But the production of the once nourishing Semovita had stopped.

I was told that a minimum of 3,000 bags is being produced per day and a maximum of 4,500 per day, during the period of July to December which is a period of peak production.

In 2014, the marketing team carried out a feasibility study on the possibility of adding two new line in their production channel which was abandoned about 12yrs ago i.e. Production of Maize flour, Maize Grits, and Cassava Flour which is one of the staple foods in the whole of the north and parts of the middle belt region.

In the reports submitted by the team, there is a high demand of the three products and a decision was reached by management to try out the production of these product line in addition to the wheat product due to its high rate of return on investment.

The report also looked into the possibility of penetrating the markets of Chad, Niger, Cameroon and the Central African Republic with products of Maiduguri Flour Mills.

But the multi-million dollar question is: How well are we utilising the mill, considering the urgent need to increase the internally generated revenue base of the state following the dwindling federal allocation?

Do you know that in my years of interaction with those that know much about the mill, the Maiduguri Flour Mills can generate close to N1 billion naira monthly if properly utilised, although the highest it has ever generated was N400m monthly?

I was then reliably informed by a top management staff, who has since left the organization, that the former General Manager of the company, deliberately tied down the company’s growth to some very funny antics  because he doesn’t want the Borno State Government in particular to put much “eye” on what is truly going on in the company, described by my friend as a “Goldmine in the Desert” that can truly turn around the fortunes of Borno State?

To be continued…..


Source: Christopher Godwin Akaba, Editor In Chief Daily Correspondents