Wednesday, 29 November 2017

University of Nigeria Press holds AGM, posts 19k dividend

Prof. Orabueze with the Board Members, Shareholders and Principal Staff of UNPL

By Ify David-Ojukwu
UNN: The University of Nigeria Press Ltd [UNPL] recently marked its 2nd Annual General Meeting at the den.

The AGM started with a courtesy call on the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Benjamin Chukwuma Ozumba in his office who expressed satisfaction and joy at the visit, and said that he received the news of the AGM with
enthusiasm, saying that the management of the press under the leadership of its Managing Director, Prof Florence Onyebuchi Orabueze has done marvelously well.

The award-winning Vice-Chancellor applauded Prof Orabueze for transforming the hitherto almost a moribund press in less than two years as the MD.

“The Management has been consistent in the payment of dividends under her tenure, and to know that this is the second AGM since the history of the press is laudable, and unprecedented. The first AGM was held 12 years ago!





“it is worth commending, and I, on behalf of the University of Nigeria, praise her for her doggedness, resilience, discipline, diligence, and above all, integrity although I did not expect anything less from her, because I knew from the outset that she would prove her mettle, and I am glad she has not disappointed me.

“I equally thank the Chairman of the press, Prof Uche Okpoko, the Board members, shareholders and the staff of the press for being partners in progress. Without your support to your MD, this AGM would have been a mirage”, he stated.

From the V-C’s office, the MD took the shareholders to the press to have a full view of their company, which also afforded them the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the workers who are working tirelessly to make the UNPL what it is today. They also saw that most of the printing machines were already obsolete, and the press was no longer spacious enough for optimum productivity.

The shareholders expressed great amazement that despite the above challenges, Prof Orabueze and members of her staff could still maneuver the situation, and perform creditably well within the period under review.

At the Niger Hall of CEC, venue of the AGM, the Chairman of the occasion, Prof Ozumba who was ably represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor [Administration], Prof Charles Igwe did not mince words in admitting that Prof Orabueze has been working assiduously even on Saturdays and Sundays, saying that it was only in Europe and America that he had seen MDs working like every other person in a company.

“If other MDs in Nigeria would be working like Orabueze, I can assure you that Nigeria would be heading for another economic boom.
Prof Uche Okpoko, Chairman, UNPL

“I congratulate the MD, the Chairman, the Board members, shareholders and members of the staff, on this 2nd AGM of the UNPL, and more especially for rejuvenating the press that would have gone extinct if not for the timely intervention of our V-C in appointing a goal-getter in the person of Prof Orabueze as the MD,

“The contribution of our university to this success story is that we took a decision that all the works coming from the university would be printed in UNPL. I am happy that this synergy is yielding the much-desired results. By this, the UNPL is now the second outfit in the university to pay dividends after the university’s Micro Finance Bank Ltd.
Board Member, Prof. L.C Ogenyi

“Thank you, Prof Orabueze, a woman mountain, an Iroko, for a job well delivered”, he applauded. That notwithstanding, Prof Igwe advised the MD and her team not to rest on their oars, saying that there is still room for improvement.

In his remarks, the Chairman, UNPL, Prof Pat Uche Okpoko said that when the present Board in which he is the Chairman was constituted in May, this year, they had to send a fact-finding team to publishing houses in Ibadan with the aim of making the UNPL competitive, globally.

He said that despite the shortcomings at University of Ibadan Press Ltd, that the findings are enriching and informative, stressing their optimism to leverage on them to actualize their dreams.

“Secondly, we constituted an editorial team made up of seasoned scholars to ensure that manuscripts that come to our press go through the mill and come out well proofread. Thirdly, we are trying to computerize our press to ensure effective control while at the same time, reducing the areas of leakages

“While the Director’s and the Auditor’s report will give detailed financial performance of the press, I wish to say without equivocation that the press has been doing well since the last two years Prof Orabueze has been the MD.

“The Director and her team are very committed to their duties and this has culminated in the dividends that we hereby declare. This is not withstanding the dividends shared last year”, he said.

Prof Okpoko who is the immediate former Dean, Faculty of Arts, UNN, admitted that the MD and her team have been working under constraint posed by the one-service-customer maintained over the years in the UNPL, which he adduced to the operational environment of the press, and also the non-functional and fully depreciated machines that still dot parts of the press.

He, however, expressed optimism that the press in the coming years would reach out to affiliate schools, and other neighbouring universities in the Southeast so that they could address the first challenge.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of UNPL, Prof Orabueze while appreciating the shareholders, especially, HRH, Igwe George F.O. Asadu, and Prof Greg C. Okeke for their immense contributions to her success story, highlighted some of the laudable achievements she has recorded.

These achievements, she stated are in the areas of service delivery which the Senate Ceremonials Committee, and their numerous customers have consistently being applauded, thus, improving on the solvency of the UNPL which hitherto had been a threat insurmountable.

Prof Orabueze also mentioned that the Debt Ratio of 2017 showed that outsiders’ fund like loans in the running of operational activities of the company have all been eliminated, which she said had helped in stabilizing the hitherto threatened stability and corporate existence of the UNPL, explaining that emphasis was not on short term performance like profit but, on the factors negating the continued existence of UNPL.

The amiable, quintessential MD added that in consultation with her Board then, a dividend of 12k per N1.00 was paid to the shareholders in December, 2015, saying that it was only few months she mounted the saddle of the leadership of the UNPL. Her motivation, according to her, was that it had been 15 years the press had been in operation without the shareholders having value for their investment.

The disciplined and focused Administrator-cum-Academic said that she dismantled the UNPL “Mafia” which had held sway, called the shots, and had held the press to ransom. This rare achievement had resulted in re-establishing good relationships among staff which had been stalled before she took over.

“It may interest you to know that those staff members who were running parallel printing press had been sent out. Also, the non-functional equipment like, MOZ and CTF are fully functional.

“Additional Kord 64 Machine, Spiral Binding Machine and Mako 46 machines were bought. These have contributed immensely to the quality and timeliness of our products at competitive prices. The press has been renovated, that is, painted in and out, and fumigated; the broken-down air-conditioners have been repaired, thus ensuring better service from the machines.

“Our staffers now wear customized UNPL overall dresses and boots, especially machine operators for their safety. Now uniformed Security Personnel work in the press for obvious reasons”, she elucidated.

On the company’s Current Ratio, Prof Orabueze said that the result of the audited account of 2016/2017 account year showed that UNPL rose from a 1.02:1 in the previous year to 1.5:1 ratio, showing a remarkable step towards attaining the set standard of 2.1.

This ratio, according to her shows that the current assets have so far covered the current liabilities for up to one and half times. She attributed this performance to a number of factors, viz, “suppliers’ confidence has been fully restored for the better in doing business with the press; the analysis of 2016 report show that some suppliers were owed for up to two years [776 days], but in 2017, payable period dropped reasonably to 122 days.

“Your company delivers top quality work on schedule. We make sure that our customers get good value for their money and also ensure that the staffers are well-motivated and their morale boosted through prompt payment of salaries and maintenance of good and functional welfare packages for them. These have been the Value and the Norms of the press since I came in.   

On the challenges facing the press, Prof Orabueze said that the machines and the equipment in spite of their functional status were already obsolete, saying that the MOZ machine had been phased out since 1995 in Europe and America in favour of the speed Master Machines.

She also said that the 45KVA and 150KVA generators are already old and crying for replacement, mentioning also that the activities in the press had grown bigger than its size. Larger space to house the staff and machines, she lamented, was needed as a matter of urgency for optimum performance in the New Year which had already begun.

It is interesting to note that the Board’s propositions to appoint Messrs Chukwuka Uchime & Co, Chartered Accounts, as External Auditors for UNPL for 2018, Prof Greg C. Okeke and HRH Igwe George Asadu as members of the board representing, the shareholders, and a dividend of 19k/N1.00 share held in the UNPL, and that the old and non-functional machines that dot the press should be discarded were ratified by the shareholders at the 2nd AGM of the University of Nigeria Press Ltd..

The MD ended her speech by appreciating the V-C, Prof Ozumba for believing in the press, the DV-C [Administration], Prof Charles Igwe for always answering the UNPL even at odd hours, her Board members made up of Prof L.C. Ogenyi who is currently the Coordinator, Use of English, School of General Studies, University of Nigeria, Dr. M.E. Odukwe, Dr. Modesta Ezema, Comrade Okey Emeter and Mr. Leonard Ezeme as the Secretary. 

Worthy of note is that the UNPL has a staff strength of 37 out of which 23 are Core Staff; 9 Support Staff; 2 Apprentice; 2 IT students; a Security man.


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