Steel company creates 10,000 jobs in 3 years - K. T. Hammond lauds B5 Plus
A One-District, One Factory (1D1F) entity, B5 Plus Ltd, has increased employment opportunities for over 10,000 youth with different educational backgrounds since the commissioning of the phase one of the modernised steel plant in 2021.
With an installed capacity of 250,000 tonnes and 60,000 tonnes a year for its rolling mill and prefabricated manufacturing plant respectively, the company also exports a large portion of its products to neighbouring West African countries, saving the country approximately $100 million in foreign exchange which is so critical for economic stability and growth.
B5 Plus currently produces 4,000 different lines of products for the West African market.
This came to light when the Minister of Trade and Industry, K. T. Hammond, paid a working visit to the new plant site at Larpleku in the Kpone-Katamanso District in the Greater Accra Region.
Impressed by the modern production technology and methods at the factory, the Trade and Industry Minister said the performance of B5 Plus underlined the success story of the government’s flagship 1D1F initiative, which was worthy of emulation by other countries aspiring to decentralise industrial development.
Citing the case of B5 Plus Limited, Mr Hammond stated that the company had taken advantage of the government’s initiative to invest in a new manufacturing line to grow it into one of the largest iron and steel companies in Africa and beyond.
The Trade and Industry Minister said the local production of iron and steel was critical for the success of the country’s industrial transformation agenda which, he said, focused on value addition using local raw materials, and creating mass employment and export diversification, especially through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Sectors such as the real estate, construction and metal fabrication have benefited from the products of the company, thus opening gates of sustainable development in the country.
The minister embarked on the visit to familiarise himself with the operations of the factory and how it is supporting the local economy.
Addressing the media after the tour, the minister described the project as a classic example of the success of the President’s industrialisation 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,” Mr Hammond said.
“I want to assure the company of the government’s 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 added.
Unhappy with the huge expenditure on iron and steel imports, Mr Hammond expressed optimism that the project had come at an opportune time to help address the challenge.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of B5 Plus Ltd, Mukesh V. Thakwani, said the decision to invest to expand and modernise the factory which was set up in 2002 as a small operation 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.
He said after the investment, the company had become the largest iron and steel manufacturer and exporter in West Africa.
Mr Thakwani emphasised that the emergence of AfCFTA would help address some of the challenges from trading across borders in Africa.
B5 Plus Ltd, an existing company, took advantage of the 1D1F initiative and invested to expand capacity, technology and production lines with the construction of an additional plant.
Described as one of the largest in Africa, the steel manufacturing plant is certified with the ISO 9001:2015 quality management system.
The fully automated steel manufacturing plant is estimated to cost $100 million and has the potential to help bridge the gap between the production and demand for steel locally.
The first phase of the plant sits on a 100-acre land and comprises of a steel melting shop (SMS), a rolling mill and a prefabricated manufacturing plant.
Mr Thakwani told the minister and his entourage that the company sourced some of its raw materials as scrap metals from the local market as well as ingots from foreign markets.
He said B5 Plus had been able to build one of the largest network of wholesalers, dealers and distributors in Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Benin, Freetown, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Senegal and Mali.
Some of the lines of products are wire rods and rebars from scrap metal, sections, angles, channels, U beams, round bars and square bars.
The CEO added that by expanding its production capabilities to include grinding media balls, B5 Plus would be able to increase its production and offer more goods locally.