STEEL AND iron manufacturing giant, B5 Plus Limited, has commenced the construction of what is to be the biggest ever metal manufacturing factory in Ghana.
The over $80 million project for which sod was cut on Wednesday, September 12, 2018, forms part of the government’s One District One Factory (1D1F) flagship programme.
The factory, located within Ningo-Prampram District of the Greater Accra Region, is expected to produce different qualities of metal and steel products.
When completed, the mega factory will have the capacity to serve the Ghana & West African sub-region.
The factory is expected to be well positioned to produce various steel products some of which are currently being imported into the country.
It is envisaged that the factory will save Ghana some $100 million in foreign exchange in its first year, with the figure increasing in the subsequent years.
The company, to be built on a 377 acres of land is to create about 3,000 direct & indirect jobs and give business opportunities for several retailers.
By December 2018, B5 Plus Limited shall begin the first roll of the project and latest by 2nd quarter 2019, the entire factory will be fully operational.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of B5 Plus Limited who doubles as Director of Delhi Public School International (DPSI) Ghana, Mukesh Thakwani, in a statement, explained that, B5 Plus from its humble beginning two decades ago when it was importing steel and metal products from Ghana's neighbouring countries like Togo and Cote d' Ivoire, has grown to become a net exporter of steel products to the entire West African sub-region.
He noted that the company was proud to be associated with many major projects that have been undertaken in Ghana over the years.
The new factory when completed, is expected to supply metal products to the country's mining and construction sectors.
Mr. Thakwani said the factory is in line with President Akufo-Addo's 1D1F policy, appreciate government initiative to create more industrial environment
Mr Thakwani, however, appealed to the government to address the issue of land litigation in Ghana which he said was a major challenge for foreign investors.
The CEO of the multinational firm said about 400 to 500 people will be engaged in the construction work.
“We always believe that we will create more and more jobs to enjoy peace and harmony in our society,” he said, in response to a request by a residence of Ningo-Prampram, led by their District Chief Executive (DCE), for the company to prioritise them for employment opportunities when the factory is completed.
Ghana's Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Carlos Kingsley Ahenkora, in a keynote address at the colorful sod-cutting ceremony, thanked management of B5 Plus Limited for undertaking such a noble project.
He was emphatic that the factory is going to bring along major economic development and job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth, especially those around the Ningo-Prampram township.
As part of efforts to contribute to the success of the factory, he said, the Ministry of Trade was in talks with the management of B5 Plus Limited and other relevant institutions and ministries for the provision of water and 100 megawatts of electricity to the company pointing out that communities around the factory will also benefit from the supply.
He outlined government's objectives for introducing the 1D1F policy as job creation, import asubstitution, control of rural-urban drift, poverty reduction, and noted that the mega factory being put up by B5 Plus fits perfectly into the President's agenda.
He expressed the belief that if B5 Plus was even able to produce 150,000 metric tons of steel annually from the factory, it will contribute significantly to the reduction of Ghana’s import costs.
Commenting on the progress being made by government with regard to the 1D1F, he assured Ghanaians that by the end of the four-year tenure of the NPP administration, the policy is going to see a major facelift.
So far, according to him, financial institutions in the country have pledged $2.5 billion for the 1D1F.
He disclosed that a couple of foreign financial institutions like the Indian Export and Import (EXIM) Bank and the US EXIM Bank have expressed interests in financing key projects under the programme, saying about 100 candidates have been recommended to those financial institutions for investment consideration.
Mr. Kingsley Ahenkora assured B5 Plus Limited and other foreign investors that government shall do all it takes to ensure that they are not affected by land litigation.
On her part, Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Barbara Oteng Gyasi, urged B5 Plus Limited to adhere to Ghana's local content regulations.
Meanwhile, Indian High Commissioner to Ghana, Birender Singh Yadav, has expressed his delight that an Indian company has chosen to support President Akufo-Addo’s vision.
With India's unique position as the third largest steel manufacturer in the world, he believed that an Indian Company like B5 Plus Limited would become a leading force on the African steel and metal markets.
Present at the ceremony were captains of industry, staff of B5 Plus Limited and DPSI Ghana including the President of DPS Care Foundation, Vishal Thakwani the son of Mr Mukesh Thakawani.
About B5 Plus
B5 Plus Ghana Limited was established about 20 years ago with its corporate headquarters at Kpone near Tema. It was initially importing steel and iron from Cote d' Ivoire and South Africa but has grown to the stage where it now exports to other countries.
B5 Plus Limited operates in all the 15 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) nations.
The company's principal product is steel products which come in seven major categories: Mild Steel, High Tensile & Iron Rods, Galvanized Products, Stainless Steel, Marine & Mining, Roofing & Nails and Concrete & Fencing.
Its vision is to become the world’s steel industry benchmark through the excellence of its people, its innovative approach and overall conduct.