Wednesday, 1 February 2017

First ever syringe manufacturing company arrives Akwa Ibom

QUESTION: VKS Nigeria Construction Limited has been in the country for three years now, undertaking major construction works in Akwa Ibom State. In 2016, your company made some strides in the area of road construction in the state. What are some of those achievements you recorded last year despite the recession experienced in the year under review?

ANSWERS: The year 2016 was a tough year for growth not only in Nigeria but everywhere in the world. There was recession globally. The economy of the world was not in good shape. But for our company VKS, we had to grow. We do not mourn about setbacks, we make steps to correct and prevent setbacks. ‘Yesterday was good, tomorrow will be better’, this is the principle of our company.

QUESTION: Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Limited, a subsidiary of VKS, is establishing the first Syringe factory in sub-sahara Africa, with its headquarters in Akwa Ibom State. Why is this state the choice destination for the industry and not other huge cities in Nigeria?
ANS: The academicians when talking about development, says; ‘development comes by policies’. The truth is that Akwa Ibom has good development policies. Gov. Udom Emmanuel has good policies for sustainable development in his state. You know that sustainable development is the development that answers current needs of the people and not just looking at the future needs only.
QUESTION: When are we likely to see the take-off of Jubilee Syringe and what production capacity are you targeting for a start?
ANS: We are working towards getting the company commissioned by September which will coincide with Akwa Ibom state creation day. Between August and September this year, we should be able to hand over the company to Nigeria fully functional. The trail productions will start in May while in August full production will commence.  This is possible because the raw materials are in Nigeria only the machineries would be flown in from abroad. We are looking at a capacity production of 350 million pieces of syringe per year for now.

QUESTION: As an investor with huge reputation, what is the inspiration coming into investing in Nigeria and the assurance that the country will be a fertile ground for such huge investment?
ANS: Of course we were inspired by the track records of Mr. Udom Emmanuel who has been in the financial institution for quite a long time with huge reputation. He gave us the assurance that Nigeria is the right market for such huge investment. His support has been quite tremendous and we are quite encouraged by this. We assured him that with such support from his government, we were ready to swing into action in the state. There is great potential in Africa. The continent is blessed with lots of wealthy people, well educated and knowledgeable individuals scattered all over the world.

QUESTION: Is this initiative that of the Akwa Ibom State government or a privately driven initiative?
ANS: This is a hundred percent privately driven initiative and investment. But to attract investors to your country, you must encourage them; investors need encouragement. This is what Akwa Ibom State government has provided us, and this explains why we have come to Akwa Ibom State to invest. Apart from the encouragement through partnership with the state government, the state is the safest place in the country in terms of security. And of course, you know that no investor would risk investing in an unsafe environment. In Akwa Ibom, we are quite safe and our investment is safe.

QUESTION: Would you say that Jubilee Syringe will compliment the Ibom Specialist Hospital in terms of medical tourism?
ANS: This is absolutely correct. Of course every investment brings others. The Ibom Specialist Hospital is a very huge boost to bringing this investment here. I think this is possibly the best hospital in sub-sahara Africa, with huge facilities and some of the best medical man power. If the best hospital in sub Sahara Africa is located in Akwa Ibom State, why can’t the number one syringe factory be found in the state?

QUESTION: How far have you gone in terms of the physical infrastructure of the factory?
ANS: We started the construction works some three months ago. The factory is about 8000 square metres. All designs were made abroad, because this is a medical building.  We could not just design it ourselves or just with our team, we had to consult everywhere in the world. The physical structure has been completed; the roof system is beacon space frame, a very unique roof system.

QUESTION: Do you think that Akwa Ibom State has the man power to mount this investment or do you intend to bring in foreign expatriates?
ANS: This state is blessed with trained personnel. You have young and educated people in the state. As part of our company’s policies, we intend to take some of the locals to Turkey to let them see the auto machineries for themselves, learn how to use, install and know the workings of the machines, so they can operate the equipments when operation begins. This means we are training potential staff of our company and preparing them for the task ahead. We believe in local man power, we don't believe in bringing expatriates.
QUESTION: What is your relationship with Gov. Udom Emmanuel?
ANS: Our relationship is quite cordial and purely on a professional basis.

QUESTION: Do you think the state has adequate power supply needed for the smooth take-off of the factory?
ANS: Initially we were thinking of generating our own electricity, but the governor said that was not necessary since the state-own power generating company – Ibom Power can supply us with adequate power simply by putting up a substation where the factory is located. Akwa Ibom has 198mega watt of electricity to use for industries.

QUESTION: Apart from the factory your company is bringing into Akwa Ibom, has VKS handled any major infrastructure in the state?
Ans: Yes, we have done some road construction in the state and there are other jobs VKS is still working on which I cannot let it out just yet. We still have lots of plans that are still on the pipeline. The main focus when we came was construction but now we are focusing on industrialization which is the main focus of this administration.

QUESTION: What should the average Nigerian expect when the factory finally commence full operation?
ANS: The truth is that this development is coming far too late in the country. What we are trying to put on ground here is what should have been done years back if the political will was there. Establishing a syringe factory in Nigeria is definitely not something we should be celebrating at this time and age.

QUESTION: What will be the production standard, can you guarantee a world acceptable standard when production begins?
ANS: VKS Group of Companies is a Turkish company with a great reputation and cannot possibly go beyond its standard. The technology we are bringing is the best and the latest anywhere in the world. We will be producing in the European standards. Why are we doing that? First, the Nigerians deserves it, so we give it to them; the highest quality. You know what? People keep asking me if the price of the product will be affordable and I say yes it will be affordable even with the high standard of production. Jubilee Syringe is going to be the cheapest and the highest quality.

QUESTION: What is the working relationship between your company and Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Works?
ANS: Ephraim Inyangeyen, the Commissioner for Works is the most hand working guy I have ever met in my life. His passion and commitment to seeing this vision come to reality is second to none, and we are encouraged by such drive and sincerity of purpose. We have great working relationship with the Ministry of Works in the state.

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