A walk inside Springs and Bolts, Ashanti’s first 1D1F
While in Kumasi last week, I took the opportunity to visit the Spring and Bolts Company Limited, the first factory to be opened in the Ashanti Region under the government’s One-district One-factory (1D1F) policy
1D1F is the flagship industrial policy initiative of the Akufo-Addo-led administration working with the private sector, and to be the first company to operate in the Ashanti Region is no mean an achievement.
Right at the entrance to the factory, which manufactures U-bolts, leaf springs and axles, is a plaque emblazoned with the name of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who inaugurated it during his recent tour of the Ashanti Region.
Springs and Bolts situated in the Kaasi Industrial Enclave. The enclave used to be the major industrial hub of Ghana's second city of Kumasi, hosting mostly timber companies.
Today, the area is a pale shadow of its glorious industrial past. Most of the timber companies have either folded up or are producing under capacity, the reason being mainly the dwindling supply of logs from the natural forest.
Finished springs ready for the market
I was met on the premises of the Spring and Bolts Company by the Managing Director, Mr George Asamoah-Amankwaa, a man I had known over the past 15 years. He is a seasoned farmer, mechanic and industrialist.
Mr Asamoah-Amankwaa started off as a mechanic.
"I started as at Suame Magazine in Kumasi, from where I developed the necessary skills, networks and credibility to venture into spare parts sales, later becoming the chairman of the biggest spare parts group in the Suame Magazine industrial enclave, the Dynamics Spare Parts Association,” he said.
He was the founding President of the Suame Magazine Industrial Development Organisation (SMIDO), which was formed following engagements with various associations within the Suame Magazine Industrial Estate.
The objective of SMIDO was to transform the Suame Magazine into a modern industrial hub through the introduction and the use of ICT. As president of SMIDO, Mr Asamoah-Amankwaa was tasked with addressing skills gaps and enhancing market linkages and he led the organisation to chalk some successes the establishment of the Suame Magazine Automatics Institute () project with support from DANIDA, USAID and BUSAC Fund
Through research and collaboration with some Dutch partners, artisans at Suame Magazine working under the banner of SMIDO, in 2013, built a dream car known as Turtle, from scrap parts. The car went on display in Kumasi, Accra and in the Netherlands, but mass production could not take place due to a multiplicity of challenges.
Alongside his mechanic business, he ventured into commercial farming and owns Europa Farms at Derma in the Tano South District in the Brong Ahafo Region, which is into the cultivation of maize, pepper, okra, plantain, oil palm and teak plantation. The farms also undertake cattle rearing and fish farming.
Through hard work, he won awards as single crop best farmer and later district and regional awards in the Tano South and Brong Ahafo Region, respectively.In 2014, after over 20 years in farming, he received a big boost when he was crowned the Ghana National Best Farmer.
This national award, according to him, urged him on to accomplish his dream of becoming a manufacturer, culminating in the establishment of Springs and Bolt.
A technician operating on one of the machines at the factory
Trucks in Ghana need durable and built for the environment U-bolts, leaf springs and axles to keep them on the road for maximum performance in carting goods across Ghana and West Africa. This is where Springs and Bolts Company Limited, with support from the 1D1F Secretariat under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, manufactures springs, bolts and axles needed in the market.
Today, Springs and Bolts Company Limited is proud to be one of the two companies in West Africa manufacturing truck parts locally.
As I toured the factory from one unit to the other, it dawned on me that the factory has a great future if the needed support will go to it.
The machinery available for production included threading, strengthening and bending machines, a furnace for heating metals, power press and hardening tester, among others. One after the other, experts hired to operate the machines took him through the workings of the machinery.
So far Springs and Bolts Company has built 10 trailers, but the managing director believes that as the company expands it will increase production.
Currently, products manufactured at the company are exported to the West Africa market of Niger.
During the inauguration of the factory, the Minister of Trade and Industry announced some tax reliefs and other support services to enable the factory to maximise production.
Mr Asamoah-Amankwaa expressed the hope that the reliefs would be operationalised soon while he expected the Ghana Exim Bank to also support them to expand production.