First Maximum Point Industries Ltd: Pioneer in Seed-Based Oil Products

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First Maximum Point Industries Ltd was founded at a time when things were a bit sketchy for businesses in Nigeria. The various travails suffered by up-and coming businesses were such that the company had to come to terms with.

Speaking with Business & Economy Review, the Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Muftau Olaitan Abolarinwa stated that First Maximum Point Industries started with crushing plant of just 12 machines of 15 metric tons capacity, which were thereafter increased to 20 with company funding as the need for expansion surfaced. 

“Our brand name is called First Oil. We call it First Oil because we know that this is the only industry as today that has no input from foreigners.” — Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Muftau Olaitan Abolarinwa

 

Why Agriculture?

When the founder of First Maximum Point Industry graduated from University of Ilorin, his intention was to be a banker. However, during a stint in a company which processed cocoa and other seeds, he developed a flare for the business. That passion has got him going until now. He had worked in various departments that equipped him for what he would do in the future.

“I was working in sales, I was working as the general manager in marketing, and I also worked in packaging,” he revealed. This helped him to get a good grasp of the business. Today, his company’s customers are in various parts of Nigeria. Catchment areas in particular include, Ore, Ilesha, Oshogbo.

Championing Made-in-Nigeria Products

“Our brand name is called First Oil. We call it First Oil because we know that this is the only industry as of today that has no input from foreigners. It is purely managed by Nigerians. Several times when we meet with our customers and they ask, where are the experts? We tell them we are the experts,” Abolarinwa noted.

The company can boast of its efficiency and quality products because even NAFDAC and other quality control bodies can evidently attest to the fact that First Maximum Point Industries is a fully certified wholly Nigerian company producing nothing but the best end-user products in Nigeria.

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In 2010, the company with support from a Belgium company was able to refine all types oil from seeds, such as vegetable, soy, palm kernel oils. There was a push for efficiency in 2014/15 when First maximum Point started to extract and refine up to 150 tons of seed-based oil per day.

The main bulk for expansion in 2014 was possible from bank loans. However, there were problems which led the management to look elsewhere. 

“All Nigerian banks always promise heaven and earth but they won’t do anything,” the CEO said. “It’s difficult to borrow from the commercial banks because they prefer that people borrow from them at very exorbitant rates.”

So sad that management had no support for exporting produce such as cocoa or to engage in import because the commercial banks failed to provide highly needed FOREX for the expenditure. The company waited for more than 120 days without getting help. 

Challenges to Doing Business in Nigeria

Power. This is the number one challenge any Nigerian company struggles with. As at August 10, 2017, 6803MW was recorded as the current available generating capability, with a wheeling capacity of 6700MW by TCN; currently constrained by DisCos inability to take load.

This is in line with incremental power policy improvements from TCN improving the wheeling capacity from 5000MW to 6700MW.

“We have about seven generators running the plant. How could we do business when there is not enough power to work? We have tankers and other things that need electricity to be operated. Imagine what we spend to power the plant. If only this money is spent on electricity! And if electricity is constant, our equipment won’t break down unnecessarily because of power overload. We also spend more money fixing these equipments,” the CEO said.

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He continued: “Another thing is that there should be checks and balances in the system. Today, things are still being done in the ways we used to do them long ago. Take customs for example, if I’m in charge I should know the protocols to take in getting things done. They delay goods at the ports and require importers to continue paying money. This is from Nigerians to Nigerians.

“If it is clear that delaying goods beyond a certain point will mean that someone will be penalized, this situation will be held under control. People will behave when they know that a higher authority is watching.

“Another thing is that people say there is no employment in Nigeria. Virtually all local governments in Nigeria have one or more products that are not developed at all. And they are not able to pay salaries. All that is needed is to empower unemployed graduates and identify local government needs in each state and then let these educated young people use their initiatives to create jobs.”

Exporting Made-in-Nigeria Products

The wait is almost over. The world is also waiting for new products, new ways of doing things. New markets are opening up and African economies are getting ready to take a firm hold on the new opportunities that will emerge.

First Maximum Point Industries is getting prepared to export soy milk when due. Plans have started to ensure that the product, when being produced will be up to international standards although all the ingredients will be locally sourced here in Nigeria.

“Our products are already in Chad,” he said. “People are buying our products and taking them to other African countries.

Once a new employee comes in, he or she is required to work in all the departments, to gather needed experience over time. Even if the new entrant is an engineer, he or she has to go through the same process. This helps to keep members of staff for long.
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First Maximum Point through the Years

First Maximum Point Industries Ltd is also registered with the Export Promotion Council for exportation of its products mainly Palm Kernel Oil & Palm Kernel Cake.

And like every new establishment that was new to business, challenges arose for the management to handle, which were adequately sur-mounted, leading to the Board’s resolve to increase its crushing activities, to feed the refinery section more internally, and reduce reliance on externally-sourced assorted palm kernel oil. This led to the decision to procure eight expellers, to produce more PKO internally. 

In terms of accomplishments, the CEO is proud to reveal: “We have crushing machines of 100 metric tons capacity per day from MUAR BAN LEE, Malaysia, and physical refinery of 100 metric tons capacity per day from DE SMET Ballestra, Belgium. Other facilities include; storage tanks of 500 metric tons capacity each, stainless steel DFA storage tank of 90 metric tons capacity, 33KV & 11KV PHCN lines with different transformer as well as seven Power Generating Sets and weight bridge. All erected on 1.4 hectares of land located at Mile 4, Akure-Ita Oniyan Old Ondo Road, Opposite Owena Army  Barracks, Adebowale Bus stop, Ondo Road, Akure.

In terms of employment the company presently employs over 200 Nigerians. There are other contract staff who are involved in loading, offloading, and stacking. The company’s annual turnover is expected to be in the excess of N5billion in the first few years of operation.

As a fully certified Nigerian company, First Maximum Point Industries engages in staff training. Once a new employee comes in, he or she is required to work in all the departments, to gather needed experience over time. Even if the new entrant is an engineer, he or she has to go through the same process. This helps to keep members of staff for long.

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