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N5.8bn debt stalls reopening of Omatek

The inability to pay a Bank of Industry (BOI) loan worth N5.81 billion taken by local ICT firm, Omatek Ventures Plc, has stalled the re-opening…

The inability to pay a Bank of Industry (BOI) loan worth N5.81 billion taken by local ICT firm, Omatek Ventures Plc, has stalled the re-opening of the company since it was closed in 2017.

Its shareholders at the combined five-year Annual General Meeting for 2015 to 2019 held in Lagos at the weekend appealed to BOI to grant the ICT firm a bailout to enable it to manufacture software.

The firm, in December 2012, secured a loan and working capital facilities of N5.81bn from BOI to buy assembly components for laptop production. However, it could not service the loan and with a court order, BOI took over its assets in Oregun, Lagos.

The shareholders said the takeover of the assets stopped the company from making any sales and raising funds to service the loan.

The Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) had appealed to the federal government to intervene in the BOI/Omatek row. It said Nigeria was losing much as Omatek was a major employer of youths.

At the AGM, Omatek’s Chairman, Dr. Timothy Farinre, said shortly after the death of the founder, Mrs Florence Seriki, BOI appointed a receiver over some facility granted to Omatek.

“As we speak, the case is still in court. BOI’s appeal is slated for hearing at the Federal Appeal Court in Lagos in June 2021. We have been on this case since 2017. The operation of the group had been constrained by the receiver order.

“The board and management had made appeals for an out of court settlement with BOI, but has not succeeded thus far,” Farinre said.

Omatek is said to be the first indigenous company to be quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and had sold several thousands of laptops, smartphones, among others.

On its prospects, Farinre said Omatek can employ over 1,500 youths at the factory both directly and indirectly.

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