Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta on Thursday, performed the groundbreaking for the 40 million dollars (about N15.2 billion) power transmission tower manufacturing industry in the state.
The governor performed the function at the project site at KM 25, Asaba-Benin Expressway, Isele-Uku, Aniocha North Local Government Area of the state.
He said the project was a public private partnership initiative between DELFRASCO Industries Ltd and the state.
He lauded Issele-Uku community for its support and cooperation with the state government, and commended the project partners, Delta Investment and Development Agency (DIDA), for commitment and tenacity.
“The location of this industry demonstrates your confidence in Project Nigeria, while giving fillip to our administration’s industrialisation drive.
“It is my earnest expectation that this project will flourish, and that God will reward you abundantly for taking the bull by the horns.
“Upon completion, this will be Nigeria’s and indeed, Africa’s first and largest multi-industry local content industrial complex, providing products and services to power, oil and gas, telecoms, agriculture and other industries.
“Major customers are expected to include Transmission Company of Nigeria, Nigeria LNG Train seven Projects, EPC Contractors in Energy and Infrastructure Projects and telecomsinfrastructure providers.
“It is envisaged to meet the present and future demands for tower manufacturing in Nigeria as well as the whole of Africa, and contribute positively to the socio-economic development of Delta and Nigeria,” Okowa said.
He said that when completed, the industry would position Delta as a hub for production of power technology and equipment, adding that it would be the first in Africa.
“I specially appreciate the board and management of DELFRASCO, for this bold initiative.It takes a lot of faith and courage to venture into manufacturing in an economy that is mired in turbulence as we have experienced in recent times.
“The location of the industry here, demonstrates your confidence in Project Nigeria; it is my earnest expectations that the project will flourish and that God will reward you abundantly for taken the bull by the horns.
“I commend the project team in Nigeria, Indian and the United Kingdom, who are collaborating with DELFRASCO, the project promoter, to ensure that this project gets off the ground.
“When fully operational, it will improve the economy of the state and the nation, create jobs and contribute to revenue generation to the local government, state and the Federal Government, as well as generate foreign exchange for the country,” he said.
Earlier, Chief Chukwuma Okolo, Project Chairman, DELFRASCO, said that the project would be completed in 2022.
According to him, the industry will engage in manufacturing of power transmission towers, world class research and training facilities.
“It will manufacture hot dip galvanising plant as well as ensure transmission tower testing which is currently done abroad.
“This is a world class project, first in Africa and when completed, will create employment for youths, generate and save much foreign exchange used in purchasing the power facilities from abroad for Nigeria,” he said.
He thanked the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria for giving a boost to the investment through policies and financing programme for the real sector.
Okolo, also appreciated Okowa and all its partners within and outside the country for their commitment and resolve to ensure the projects came to fruition.
He said, “the first phase of the industry will be ready in the first quarter of 2022, while the entire project will be delivered before the end of 2022”.
The Chairman, DIDA, Mr Paul Nmah, said that the project groundbreaking was a product of various negotiations in line with the Smart Agenda of the Okowa led administration to build the state’s economy.
He, however, disclosed that the project was worth 40 million dollars, adding that when completed, it would positively impact the internally generated revenue of the local, state and Federal governments.
He said the state government had put plans in place to de-risk the project by putting its equity contribution to it.
In a goodwill message, the President General, Issele-Uku, Chief Kenneth Ofordili, thanked the governor and the investors for the project and pledged their commitment to protect and ensure that the project thrived.
The high point of the ceremony was the laying of the foundation stone by Okowa which was witnessed by the deputy governor, Kingsley Otuaro, traditional rulers which included the Obi Agbogidi Nduka I, Obi of Issele-Uku among other dignitaries.