President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has commissioned Phase I of an $80 million B5 Plus Steel Factory, situated on a 100-acre land at Lapleku in Prampram in the Greater Accra Region.
An enterprise operating under the Government’s One District, One Factory initiative, will be the largest in Africa when all the phases are completed.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, President Akufo-Addo said Ghana’s industrial transformation agenda hinges on a competitive and vibrant local steel industry which is a critical input for the country’s industrial take-off.
He said “this plant is a concrete manifestation that the new paradigm of economic development with this administration has been vigorously pursued since 2017.
Emphasising value addition, industrial activities, within a conducive and business-friendly environment, President Akufo-Addo, said the country’s industrial agenda is making head away.
The President said he came into office in 2017, with a clear appreciation of the fact that “unless we industrialise, to add value to our primary products, we cannot create the necessary numbers of high paying jobs that will address the country’s unemployment.”
“Every year, some 350,000 students, graduate from our tertiary institutions across the country, and join the labour market in search of jobs.”
That number, he said, is an addition to “thousands of thousands of apprenticeships and other non-graduates” in search of employment.
President Akufo-Addo said those challenges were the reason why the government took steps to roll out the “1D1F” initiative.
He said the 76 enterprises operating under the initiative, had so far employed about 139,000 people, who hitherto, would have been home, “twinkling their thumbs with no hope in sight.”
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, said the steel factory would serve as an equal substitution for Ghana’s imports of iron and steel which is over $4 billion annually.
The Trade and Industry Minister said additionally, the critical importance steel plays in building a country’s infrastructure would be enhanced by B5 Plus Steel Factory which would greatly propel Ghana’s drive to provide infrastructure for its development.
The CEO of B5 Plus Group, Mahesh Thakwani commended the government for the ‘1D1F’ initiative and the friendly business environment created.
He assured the government of the company’s quest to help create job openings, as well as leverage on the country’s favourable economic fundamentals, to produce and export to other countries in the West African region, to drive the needed foreign exchange.
B5 Plus Limited started operating in 2002, by importing steel products from countries like Cote d’ Ivoire and others.
“Today, after a long journey of hard work and commitment, the company has become a net exporter to most countries in West Africa.”
The steel plants, Mahesh Thakwani said had created approximately 2000 jobs, directly and indirectly; with an installed production capacity of 250,000 tonnes per Anum which include iron rods, wire rods, and round bars.
The second phase, he said, would include an investment of $70 Million with an installed capacity of 300,000 tonnes of mixed steel goods.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD