Chief Executive Officer of, arguably, West Africa’s largest steel manufacturing company, B5 Plus Group, Mukesh Thakwani, has commended the Akufo-Addo government for the implementation of One District One Factory policy, which he describes as real game changer and a possible catalyst to Ghana’s economic growth and development.
According to him, the policy has paved the way for further investments into his company, B5 Plus Group, culminating into the construction of a pre-fabrication manufacturing unit. Over 100 million dollars, he says, have been injected by his company under the 1D1F initiative.
The plant will be another significant achievement of the Industrial Transformation Programme of B5 plus which is aimed at contributing to the transformation of the structure of the country’s economy from exporter of raw materials to trading in value-added products.
Once completed, the project will produce various forms of metal and metal related products for both local and international markets. The factory will be one of the largest state-of-the-art steel manufacturing plants in Africa with a production capacity of 25,000 metric tons per month. It will also create about 20,000 direct and indirect jobs for the people in the surrounding community and its environs.
Mr Thakwani, at a short interaction with the media facilitated by the Ghana Trade and Finance Conference (GITFiC) in partnership with the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) to enhance a strategic relationship with the private sector and fostering economic growth and also harnessing the full benefit of the AfCFTA expressed optimism at the prospects for the future.
Despite the progress chalked over the period of the company’s existence, Mr. Thakwani nonetheless outlined some of the major challenges the onset of COVID-19 brought to them. “We had our own challenges, from manpower to health issues. And then, on the ground, there was the challenge with the regular supply of electricity and water. The Ghanaian government has really done a commendable job in these difficult times” he intoned during his interaction with journalists of some selected media outlets during a tour to B5 Plus Group.
“We are, however, very proud to say that Ghana has come out as a winner. We have been giving a free oxygen supply to all government and private hospitals. We have also given a lot of donations to the government and private individuals, whatever we could do. Collectively, there were very good efforts made by the Ghanaian government, Ghanaian companies, and individuals. Today, we are blessed that Ghana is comparatively a much safer zone. In the near future, we will be able to put COVID behind,” Mr Thakwani said.
Challenges that are confronting B5 Plus
“The biggest challenge we are having right now is the electricity. Electricity prices in Ghana are much higher compared to the international markets. We have competition with tough countries from Asia where the price of electricity is much lower compared to that of Ghana. There is also the issue of the timely supply of electricity for the new industries and challenges with the water supply.”
On his side, the Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Mr Tsonam Cleanse Akpeloo also called on the government to create an enabling environment for Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SME’s) to thrive by looking at the cost of electricity and should also deal with the intermittent cut of power.
According to him, this is not going to help the industry. “We need a regular flow of power for industry and the issues of taxation needs to be re-look at these can be a nuisance for doing business.
By: Joseph Nii Ankrah