As Sparkwest Steel’s products gain traction across African markets, the firm has started building a rolling mill to expand operations and satisfy the needs of local and cross-border consumers.
Sparkwest Steel Industries Limited is a leading manufacturer of fabricated and galvanised steel structures, electrical transmission towers, power stations/substations, telecoms towers and accessories.
The company is among leading suppliers of these products to the telecoms, oil and gas, and power industries. It currently exports these products to Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Ghana and Gabon, among others.
Niyi Oyedele, the company’s managing director, gave these hints during a factory tour in Sagamu, Ogun State, by Olusegun Aganga, minister of industry, trade and investment.
According to Oyedele, the new investment is expected to increase staff strength from 600 to 2,500.
Oyedele, however, noted that import duties on raw materials had continued to plague the growth of industrial activities, stressing that power was still a major challenge to development.
He commended the minister for helping the growth of the manufacturing sector by reversing import duty to 5 percent, adding that “Ogun State government has given tremendous support to our factory and other industries within the state; indeed, Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s support and cooperation constitute one of the reasons for our success.”
On his part, Aganga emphasised the need for Nigeria to diversify its economy more so as oil revenue had dropped considerably, noting that it was industries like Spartwest that would help to diversify the economy.
The minister said firms such as Sparkwest were vital to achieving economic diversification, explaining that the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) was launched to focus on areas where the country had competitive advantage.
“We have to also commend the Ogun State government because without them, none of the new 57 industries would have come up in the state. There is also the need for state and the Federal Government to partner to achieve industrial revolution in the country.
“People are saying industries are dying, but they are not. They are rather growing every day. In the last four years, about 57 new industries have come out of Ogun State. The president has visited Ogun State more than seven times to commission new factories. The same thing is happening in Abia State, where Nigerian Breweries over the last five years has spent $1 billion building new plants in the country.
The brewery is the biggest and the best in Africa. The governor of the state was telling us that most of the industries that left Aba five years ago are coming back to Aba,” he said.
The NIRP is working, but needs consistency and continuity for another five to seven years to achieve its mandate, the minister said, arguing that if Nigeria continued with the initiative its economy will be diversified, millions of jobs created and more foreign exchange from export of steel products earned.
“The days of relying only on crude oil are over. This is an opportunity for us to fully diversify our economy. I am very delighted that this government under President Goodluck Jonathan already has a plan to harness this opportunity to diversify the economy,” he said.