The Minister of State for Solid Minerals Development, Mr. Abubakar Bawa-Bwari, has said that the Federal Government had spent over $10bn on the Ajaokuta Steel Company in the last 35 years.
He also said the government escaped paying damages in excess of $525m to Global Infrastructure Holdings Limited by signing a modified concession agreement with the latter to enable the firm to retain the National Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe. The modified seven-year concession agreement was signed on August 1, this year.
NIOMCO was designed to feed Ajaokuta Steel Company with the requisite raw materials to produce steel, but both firms have made little progress.
Bawa-Bwari, who appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation in Abuja, said, “The most important thing is that everybody agrees that Ajaokuta should work. We have spent over $10bn over 35 years and we cannot afford to continue to waste more time.
“This modified agreement is the best option available to government today. This agreement will free us from all the legal issues. We will monitor it and ensure that the GIHL too keeps to its promise that they have turned a new leaf.”
The minister spoke amid protests by steel sector stakeholders, including workers, host communities and the Bureau of Public Enterprises.
Bawa-Bwari said that the present administration signed the agreement to free NIOMCO, Ajaokuta Steel Company and the Delta Steel Company, Ovian-Alaja, from the ‘legal encumbrances’ that had stalled the operations of the steel firms for several years since they were first privatised in 2004.
The minister said that it was the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan that first initiated the modified agreement with the GIHL in 2013 as part of ‘out of court settlement’ for the government’s breach of the original agreement it signed with the Indians in 2004.
He said that the initial concession was to last 25 years with a provision for “automatic renewal.”
However, the minister said the late President Umaru Yar’Adua reversed the privatisation of NIOMCO in 2008 without meeting the requirements of the clauses built into the agreement.
He added that the GIHL reacted by dragging the government before the Court of Arbitration, further crippling the operations of NIOMCO and other steel firms tied to it.
The minister explained how, acting on legal opinion by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Jonathan administration opted for an out of court settlement in the form of a modified concession agreement in 2013.
But he noted that the controversy that surrounded the modified agreement again did not allow for its take-off until the current government acted on it on August 1 this year.
But the Chairman of the committee, Mr. Ahmed Yerima; the Chairman, Sub-committee on Steel, Mr. Gabriel Kolawole, and other lawmakers disagreed with the minister.
For instance, Yerima queried why the BPE was not fully involved in the process.
Some members wondered how the same government that spent over $10bn on Ajaokuta Steel was in a hurry to return to the GIHL just to avoid paying $525m damages.
The BPE, through its acting Director-General, Mr. Vincent Akpotaire, said it had not been fully involved in the privatisation of NIOMCO and Ajaokuta since 2004.
Akpotaire recalled that there was only one meeting where the BPE made proposals to the government, but stressed that the agency was not accorded further invitations.
Emmanuel Penneh set to lead the Ghanaian team that will re-assemble the first Nissan Navara made in Ghana
Emmanuel Penneh (Image: Lusawovana Pius- edelman)
Emmanuel Penneh arrived back in Accra this week, ready to start the next phase of a journey that’s taken three years so far and still has an intensive eight months to run. On Thursday 3 June 2021, the married 44-year-old father of three graduated with his team of 11 Ghanaians from an intense eight-week course at Nissan South Africa’s Rosslyn manufacturing plant outside Pretoria. That was just the first step for them. Now the hard work begins, getting Ghana’s brand-new Nissan assembly plant in Tema, outside Accra, ready to begin re-assembling the first ever Nissan Navaras to be built in Africa early in the New Year.
The graduation is a critical milestone in a process that began back in 2018 with the signing of the landmark Memorandum of Understanding between Nissan and the Government of Ghana, followed by the drafting and promulgation of Ghana’s automotive development policy the following year and then the appointment of Japan Motors Trading Company (JMTC), as Nissan’s preferred partner last year to ensure that the new facility will be 100% Ghana owned and run.
Penneh is up for the challenge. Speaking at the special graduation ceremony held at the Rosslyn, SKD plant, he said he and his team were proud and honoured, excited and delighted. “This is a historic evolution for Nissan Ghana, Nissan South Africa and Nissan worldwide. This is the plant where the Nissan Navara is being made for the first time in Africa, by Africans for Africa, now we are going home to re-assemble the first Navara made in Ghana for Ghana by Ghanaians!”
Penneh will be the plant manager. It’s a feather in the cap for the 10-year JMTC veteran. Before being approached to lead the team, Penneh was service co-ordinator for the group’s aftersales operations, overseeing five workshops across Ghana. He’s been in the automotive industry for 14 years, with four years at Man Truck Ghana before he joined JMTC.
“It’s exciting,” he says, “it gives a new dimension to my career. After concentrating on the after sales aspect, I’m now coming into the industry that actually builds the vehicles.”
The eight-week training that the team underwent in South Africa had been gruelling, he said, they had no idea what to expect. “It was challenging coming fresh into this industry and discovering so many processes and rules and mastering them, but it’s been exciting.”
He’s exceptionally proud of the team he led to South Africa and the way they’ve conducted themselves. “This (the creation of a Nissan assembly plant in Ghana) is going to be a game changer for ourselves, but also for our country, creating jobs, upskilling people and creating opportunities for local brand ownership.”
BGI Ethiopia Gets New keg tracking solution- Keg Track&Trace
BGI Ethiopia (Source: 8Sigma)
Montelektro, a leading system integrator in the brewing industry, and 8Sigma, a premium MES provider delivered solution KegTNT (Keg Track&Trace) to a brewery in Addis Ababa.
KegTNT is a software solution that tracks kegs throughout their life stages while inside the brewery and within the whole supply chain.
In addition to the mentioned brewery, during 2021, KegTNT will be implemented in two more breweries owned by the same company, BGI Ethiopia, whose long brewing tradition dates to the first half of the 20th century. The BGI Ethiopia’s owner is French Castel Group, one of the largest African and among the world’s ten largest beer producers.
The Ethiopian customer required a new, modern solution that will enable them to better manage its keg fleet, reduce costs related to the ownership of kegs, improve quality control, ensure better maintenance supervision, and to prevent possible keg losses.
Montelektro and 8Sigma’s scope of supply included the implementation of KegTNT solution that collects and saves all the data about kegs’ lifecycle, tracking it by using the RFID technology.
Its main purpose is to provide real-time tracking and traceability of each keg in the fleet, and better maintenance and quality control.
The scope also included a tablet application for tracking operations inside the brewery and a smartphone application for the sales agents. From now on, maintenance, laboratory, and warehouse staff can use tablets equipped with an RFID reader to manage everyday tasks related to the keg fleet. Sales agents can also report, track, and resolve all complaints through the application on their smartphones. All information is available in real-time, so staff can react immediately and identify potential problems even before they happened.
Within this project, KegTNT was also integrated with a keg filling plant (capacity of up to 900 kegs/h) that is fully automated and robotized. This integration enables the brewery to automatically collect and analyze data about kegs’ filling, like production rates, reject rates, downtimes, and other elements required for an efficient production.
These features of KegTNT should help BGI Ethiopia not only to improve resource utilization and the management of keg fleet, but also to preserve its good reputation and a desirable market position.
“Last year was very challenging for the whole world. The brewing industry, just like all others, was in turmoil. We are satisfied because we have managed to conclude the project in one of the three contracted breweries in the circumstances of travel restrictions. On this occasion, we would also like to thank Montelektro for their trust and partnership on another project we have successfully delivered together.”, said Vladimir Lukić, director at 8Sigma.
Apart from the mentioned project, 8Sigma and Montelektro continue to cooperate. The most important common project is the development and implementation of MES (Manufacturing Execution System) solution for the brewing industry, named BeerVision.
BeerVision schedules, tracks, and manages all production activities inside a brewery, from raw materials to the finished product – beer.
During production, this Industry 4.0 solution collects and analyzes data about the brewing process in real-time and provides fully integrated data for all operational activities. It connects and integrates the process control system (PCS) with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).
With BeerVision, companies can make decisions faster and easier and manage their businesses much more efficiently. It also helps them improve their product quality and reduce costs.
Egypt, Toyota Tsusho discuss manufacturing natural gas-powered microbuses
CAIRO – 13 October 2019: Egypt and Toyota Tsusho discussed on Sunday how the giant Japanese company can contribute to the government’s plans to manufacturing natural gas-powered microbuses.
During his meeting with President and CEO of Toyota Tsusho Mr. Ichiro Kashitani, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli emphasized Egypt’s keenness to best utilize its resources by reducing diesel exports’ expenses and transferring diesel-fueled vehicles to natural gas-powered ones or to bi-fuel vehicles that are capable of running on two fuels (natural gas and gasoline) through offering payment facilities.
Mabdouli further stressed that the transfer process needs to be implemented through manufacturing companies that working on Egypt’s soil, in order to enhance local manufacturing, and transfer expertise, according to a cabinet press statement about the meeting. He also ensured that the government is serious in its plans to implementing the transfer process through providing funding programs and incentives to encourage owners of old microbuses.
These ambitions go the lines with the government’s latest unveiled plan in August, aiming to turn 50,000 vehicles into gas-powered annually.
Mabdouli also stressed the government’s readiness to discuss the details of the implementation of the program and accelerate the process according to a specific schedule.
For their part, Toyota Tsusho delegation presented their proposal of “manufacturing high quality microbuses in a way that will meet the Egyptian government’s converting the fuel-powered vehicles.”
In a previous interview with Business Today Egypt magazine, Toyota Tsusho Kashitani explained his company’s strategy about using diversified fuels, based on the global trend to electrification, while maintaining an environment-friendly technology.
“In order to realize the fuel transfer plan by government, natural gas field development would be necessary to be accelerated and we are ready to support it by expansion of the offshore rig project as referred above,” Kashitani added during the interview.