Home PERSONALITY FOCUS Nigeria: Government Should Leave Business for Business Men – Izomor
Nigeria: Government Should Leave Business for Business Men – Izomor

Nigeria: Government Should Leave Business for Business Men – Izomor

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Yenagoa — Mr Godwin Izomor, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of MG Vowgas Group, an oil servicing and fabrication firm, in this interview, speaks on factors militating against local industries in Nigeria, and contribution of local content on job creation in the country.

“What else do you think government should do to help indigenous companies to grow?

The government should expand the local content policy to other sectors of economy, and it should leave business for business men, and focus on providing enabling environment. If there is enabling environment in Nigeria, such as stable power supply, boost security, business will thrive. Also, the government can encourage private sector to invest in power generation; Federal Government should remove power sector from exclusive list for local companies to start investing in it. Nigeria is a huge economy, that anybody is ready to invest and power is one of the key areas that Nigeria, government must unlock for investors to come; if they had not unlocked NITEL, nobody would have had GSM by now.

Your company is presently building a ballistic airboat, how realistic is it?

We work with the research department of the Federal Ministry of Defense to build the first Nigeria ballistic airboat. The airboat has the capacity speed of a 100km per hour, and the airboat is using the propeller, that is the one used by airplanes, that is the one we use to power it, and we will launch it this January. We are expecting the President or Chief of Defense Staff to come and commission the first ever ballistic airboat built in Nigeria.

What are the challenges you faced in the business?

The challenges are so many. The NCDMB has to work hard in order to categorize the company because you cannot merge us with a company that has no office, no facility and you cannot tell us to quote, that means they will under quote and we will be going out of business because we have huge overhead cost. So, one of the challenges we have is that the industry should discourage lowest bidder instead of capacity to deliver the project. We are aware of that today, there are jobs that they give to some contractors that have not be able to deliver and Mobil has to cancel that contract. It’s because those people do not have facilities, they don’t have anything, they are just contractors registered with NIPEX, they quote anything they can quote and at the end of the day, they cannot deliver such services. So, we have to tell IOCs to jettison lowest bidders, because lowest bidder is going to kill local companies, those who are struggling to build facilities like ours. So we need to encourage the qualified companies that have the capacity to deliver the project that should be the first thing the IOCs should consider.

What are the challenges you faced in the business?

The challenges are so many. The NCDMB has to work hard in order to categorize the company because you cannot merge us with a company that has no office, no facility and you cannot tell us to quote, that means they will under quote and we will be going out of business because we have huge overhead cost. So, one of the challenges we have is that the industry should discourage lowest bidder instead of capacity to deliver the project. We are aware of that today, there are jobs that they give to some contractors that have not be able to deliver and Mobil has to cancel that contract. It’s because those people do not have facilities, they don’t have anything, they are just contractors registered with NIPEX, they quote anything they can quote and at the end of the day, they cannot deliver such services. So, we have to tell IOCs to jettison lowest bidders, because lowest bidder is going to kill local companies, those who are struggling to build facilities like ours. So we need to encourage the qualified companies that have the capacity to deliver the project that should be the first thing the IOCs should consider.

Then secondly, the challenge of security, we spent money even going to the location where we work; we spent heavy money on security, where I’m working with Agip, we have two gunboats and 15 personnel, in Chevron, we have two gunboats and 15 personnel, so constantly, we are spending huge amount of money on security, we have the salary cost of my workers is about N53 million monthly, while our expenses for security is almost N50 million monthly.

With your investment in the industry, are you satisfied with the patronage from IOCs?

Basically, we have spent close to $175 million in our facility, but the issue of IOCs patronizing us is that they look at your certification in quality because these are some of the things we take dearly. We have ISO 2015, which is quality, and only few companies in Nigeria achieve ISO 2015, based on quality of fabrication not just quality on anything, we have the best quality management system in Nigeria, and the only company I can see in fabrication that have the best quality management is Lado in Lagos, it’s only them that achieved ISO 2015 quality management system.

Ten years from now, where do you think Vowgas will be?

By the grace of God in ten years from now, we want to build the first modular refinery, which we are doing next year, we are also going to invest heavily with our partners in ship building. We have noted Brass in Bayelsa State and Bonny in Rivers state, but our partners are considering whether Bonny has the landmass for that investment, though Brass has a lot of land for us to play with. So, we are going to compare which one will be the best for us, because we must reduce capital flight from Nigeria, we made so much money, but we import almost everything. We want to also appeal to government to set up another steel company in Nigeria because all the steel we used here, we either import them from Germany, Ukraine or Spain, which cost so much, the Federal Government should also ensure that in the next few years, the Ajaokuta steel company produce heavy steel for our fabrications.

What is investment profile of your company?

Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) under categorized us in terms of finance, what we have spent, based on the certificate they issued to us, they under quote our worth, they quoted us $125 million, but the facility is over a $175 million investment here.

How did this investment start?

It all started in 2009, May 11 precisely in my parlour in Woji, Port Harcourt, then I recruited two other staff, Victor and Aliyu. I was paying them N35,000 and N25,000 respectively, myself, I had no salary then, I just told them that God is taking us somewhere, that we should work, and by the time Victor left our company, a year ago, he was earning a million naira, in the space of ten years, because he has been with us from the scratch, you know in Nigeria, everybody likes to aspire, so it was time for him to go do something else. But the journey has not been easy, today we have over 230 staff, but that is the journey of three people some years ago. It’s only God that keep us strong.

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