‘Nigeria is the only producer of high-voltage cables in West Africa’

In the whole of West Africa, Nigeria is the only producer of high-voltage cables and the sixth country to adopt the technology in the Africa.

The Managing Director, Coleman Wires and Cables Limited, George Onafowokan, said this in an interview with The Guardian on Wednesday. He attributed its growth in the sector to many factors, including: strategic planning, commitment, perseverance, training, skilled workforce, Nigerian Content Act and support of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

Onafowokan said: “Nigeria is now a one-stop-shop that produces a wide range of cables such as make house wire cables, distribution cables, armoured and non-armoured cables, communication cables, control cables, solar cables and high voltage cables, thus making us the only producers of high voltage cables in West Africa. We also produce high voltage cables, thus making Nigeria the 6th country in the continent to do so”.

He said the industry had grown and will continue to grow from one level to another, apparently because operators believe in long term and strategic planning, adding: “What we’ve achieved was all in duration of less than 20 years.

“For me, one of the major driving forces has been ourselves and the team. For me, as a team lead, I am one that believes in the Nigerian dream; one that believes that we should not sell imported cables. So, Coleman has a standard rule, it does not sell any cable it cannot produce.

“We are highly committed to them. Already, many people and organisations have commended us for such commitment. Our emphasis has always been on training Nigerians to take over, believing that Nigerians have the ability to play even technical roles that we think we can’t. So, it’s all about training, and capacity building.”

Onafowokan, who acknowledged the roles of NCDMB said: “We got financial support from the Bank of Industry (BoI). It has been a great impact on our development.

“Without the BoI, we would not have grown to the extent that we have because if you depend solely on the commercial banks, you will not make much progress because they charge very high interest rates. In fact, the interest rates will kill you because even if a commercial bank gives you a five-year loan, charging you 25 per cent per annum, you’ll pay more than double the money by the time you finish paying.”

He said: “The NCDMB has extremely impacted the industry within a short period of time. Specifically, the industry has gone from one level to ten levels in the past two years. Some of the projects we have done were driven by the Local Content Act of 2010. We were encouraged to go into the high-voltage cable production and currently planning to go into EPR Rubber cable production.

“For the oil and gas industry, it would do something we have never done before. Take the case of Egina Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) platform for example. It was a game changer for us because we only produced about three per cent of the cables used. But this rubber insulated and sheathed cable factory would produce 100 per cent of the cables of the FPSO in Nigeria as well as other oil and gas refineries projects like the NLNG Train 7.

“In addition the cables are also used in the marine vessels and in the mining industry. We also look forward to taking part in many other projects in the oil and gas industry.”

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