Bassey Edem: A passion Driven Industrialist | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Bassey Edem: A passion Driven Industrialist

Posted: Jun 27, 2015 at 1:39 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Nkasiobi Oluikpe  –  Lagos


After the last general elections in the country that pulled Alhaji Mohammed Badaru off the leadership of the National Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), to the Jigawa State government house, a vacuum was created.

Bassey Edem

Bassey Edem

That vacuum needed to be filled; ironically, it wasn’t a vacuum that could be filled by just anybody. Whoever qualified to filling that vacuum, must be somebody with sterling qualities; someone with a proven track record and hands on experience in various fields of industrialisation; a person capable of steering the ship of the chambers to greater height; he or she must be a peoples’ person, willing and capable of carrying all the members of the interest group to their desired destination; the sociopolitical and economic wellbeing of members of the chambers, would have to be uppermost in that fellow’s heart.

The search began, though not for too long. There were criteria and conditions to be met; criteria that was devoid of sentiments. Because the chambers knew what they wanted, they needn’t look too far. What they were searching for, was just around the corner. He wasn’t the only one that stood the chances of stepping into that big pair of shoes; but he was the only one, whose qualities outshone the others.

That cap fitted no one else, but Chief Bassey Edem, the then first national vice president of NACCIMA, who was formally inaugurated as the substantive president of the chambers in Calabar, Cross River State on the 4th of June, 2015.

Chief Edem isn’t just restricted or committed to the activities of NACCIMA alone, his activism and tendency to canvass for the rights and welfare of others, saw him into membership of some other interest groups such as: The Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (ACCA), UK; Chartered Institute of Secretaries and Administrators (CISA); Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), all of which he is a Fellow.  He is as well an alumnus of the Lagos Business School (Chief Executives Programme – CEP3, 1994).

An industrialist of no mean status, the vice chairman of the Governing Council of the National Productivity Centre, has an eagle’s eye to detect and unlock potentials, where they exist.  During his inauguration, he revealed that agriculture must cease from being treated as a development programme to being a business venture.

He also noted: “Africa has no business being a food importing region. With over 65 per cent of the arable land left to feed the expected nine billion people in the world by 2050, Africa should become a net exporter of food. The size of the agriculture and agri-business sector in Africa is expected to grow to $1trillion by 2030.

“To unlock this potential, we need to direct resources, both public and private, to agriculture, the sector which employs close to 80 per cent of Africans and accounts for about 40 per cent of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” he said.

Despite having occupied keynote positions in some blue chip companies, the former non-executive director of Pamol (Nigeria) limited has a strong passion for small beginners and recently pledged support for the Micro-Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSME) when he said that NACCIMA will work towards being the focal point for the development of MSMEs in Nigeria in terms of access to funds, assistance with feasibility studies and business plans, as well as enhancing their representation in any intervention programme of the Federal Government.

Still, his soft spot for the growth of the Nigerian economy saw him canvassing support for the industrial sector recently, as he spoke on their behalf during a fora, saying: “There is need for the new change administration to recognize the importance of power to the survival of the industries in this country so as to ensure that the reforms in the sector are improved upon, that way, they will be able to deliver to the generality of the Nigerian.

Still on the industrial sector, he disclosed that another critical area where manufacturers are facing some challenges is in the area of interest rate: “Interest rate currently hovers between 18 to 28 per cent depending on the profile of the firms, which is too high for any productive venture and has negative effect on the global competitiveness of Nigerian firms and their products with their foreign counterparts.”

Chief Edem was born on March 12, 1950 in Lagos. He is an indigene of Akpabuyo, Calabar, Cross River State. Beyond being a chartered accountant, he holds a National Diploma in Accountancy from the Yaba College of Technology; a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree in accounting from the University of Lagos; and Masters of Business Administration from the University of Calabar.

He began his career with the United African Company of Nigeria (UACN) Plc, where he worked as an internal auditor in 1975; rose through the ranks to the position of senior audit group manager in 1979 before his transfer to the then subsidiary of UACN, Pamol Nigeria Limited (PNL) as commercial manager.

In 1982, he was promoted managing director/chief executive officer of Pamol, a position he held for 22 years.  He was also an executive director of Dunlop Nigeria Plc which later became the parent company of Pamol Nigeria Limited from 1996 to 2005, when he voluntarily retired.

Edem has held various other business, social, religious and public service positions such as: District governor of the Lions Club International; chairman, African Natural Rubber Association (ANRA); president, National Association of Agricultural and Allied Employers (NAAAE); chairman, National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC); Council member, Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA); president, Natural Rubber Association of Nigeria (NRAN).

Others include:  President, Calabar Chamber of Commerce and Industries (CALCCIMA); Council member, International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) UK; chairman, Cross River State Local Government Education Authority Board; chairman, World Bank sponsored Real Sector Stakeholders Committee on Procurement; member, Cross River State 2007 Transition Committee, to mention a few.

Currently, he is vice chairman of the Governing Council of the National Productivity Centre; non-executive director of Presco Nigeria Plc; chairman, Demaco Integrated Ventures Limited and a commission member of the Cross River State Planning Commission.

For his contributions to the growth and development of the industrial sector, he is a recipient of the Cross River State Rolls of Honours Merit Award; the African International Award of Merit and a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) national honour.

He also holds seven meritorious chieftaincy titles, five from his home state, Cross River, one from Ogun State and one from Abia State.