The Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T. Hammond, has given the strongest indication that the Government’s flagship 1D1F Initiative is a success story, worthy of emulation by other countries aspiring to decentralize industrial development.
Citing the case of B5 Plus Limited, he said the company has taken advantage of the Government’s initiative by investing in a new manufacturing line to catapult it to become one of the largest iron and steel companies in Africa and beyond.The Minister, who was so impressed with the state-of-the-art factory, made the remarks when he undertook a factory visit to the new line of the company’s plant at Larpleku in the Kpone-Katamanso District of the Greater Accra Region.
The visit was intended for the Minister to familiarize himself with the operations of the factory and how it is supporting the local production of iron and steel, which is critical for the success of Ghana’s industrial transformation agenda, which is focusing on value addition using local raw materials, mass employment and export diversification, especially through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Addressing the media after the tour of the facility, the Minister described the project as a classic example of the success of the President’s industrialization agenda through the 1D1F Initiative.
“I am overwhelmed by this huge structure. I have been taken through various processes, from the raw materials to the finished stage, and I must say that I am impressed profoundly with the work done so far. I want to assure the company of Government continuous support to address other challenges the company is facing, in terms of water supply and power generation to mitigate the negative impact on production and cost overruns”, the Minister remarked.
Obviously unhappy with the huge expenditure on iron and steel imports into the country, the Minister expressed the optimism that the project had come at an opportune time to help address the challenge.
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Mukesh V. Thakwani, C.E.O of the company, said the decision to invest in the project was to address the very concerns the Minister had raised, in a bid to accelerate socio-economic development and increase job opportunities for the country’s teeming youthful population.
According to Mr. Thakwani, the B5 Plus Company is the largest iron and steel manufacturer and exporter in West Africa. He emphasised that the emergence of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will help address some of the challenges from trading across borders in Africa.
Established in 2002, B5 Plus Limited, as an existing company captured under the 1D1F initiative has expanded its operations by constructing an additional one of the largest, strategic, state-of-the-art ISO 9001: 2015 QMS certified steel manufacturing plants in Africa at Larpleku Village.
The state-of-the-art steel manufacturing plant is estimated to cost USD 100M and has the potential to help bridge the gap between the production and demand for steel locally. The first phase of the Plant in Ghana was constructed on a 100-acre land, which comprises of a Steel Melting Shop (SMS), a Rolling Mill with a production capacity of 250,000 MT per annum and a Pre-Fab manufacturing Plant with a production capacity of 60,000 MT per annum. The company will be producing 1.5million MT of iron and steel products in different phases.
Some of the raw materials required for production are sourced as scrap metals from the local market as well as ingots from foreign market with the largest network of wholesalers, dealers and distributors in Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Benin, Freetown, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Senegal, and Mali.
Currently, B5 Plus has provided employment opportunities for over 10,000 youth with different educational backgrounds. The local manufacturing and export into the West Africa market saves the country approximately 100 million USDs in foreign exchange which is so critical for national growth and economic stability.
Sectors such as the Real Estate Development, Construction and metal work have benefitted from the quality products produced by B5 Plus Limited, thus opening gates of sustainable development in the country.