cPresident Goodluck Jonathan will on Friday this week inaugurate the multi-million naira ultra-modern integrated air conditioner and water dispenser manufacturing plant in Enugu.
The plant, which is a hundred per cent Nigerian-owned and the first in South-east and South-south geo-political zones of the country, has a capacity of employing over 200 workers.
The Managing Director, White Horse General Appliances Limited, Chika Joseph Okechukwu, who spoke with journalists yesterday, said the president would use the opportunity of the visit to lay the foundation stone for two other industries – a PVC manufacturing plant and LCD/LED assembly plant, all located within the premises of the company.
He said the company, sitting on a 100-acre land, was in fulfillment of a dream that started in 2007 when the foundation stone of the place was laid by the Enugu Governor, Sullivan Chime, accompanied by his Bauchi State counterpart, Isa Yaguda.
Okechukwu urged federal and state governments to patronise local manufacturers to enable them remain in production and boost employment, noting that it was only by so doing efforts at industrialising the country and improving on local content would yield the maximum benefits.
He expressed dismay that industrialists in the country were facing various challenges ranging from infrastructure, finance, security, among others, stressing however, that these could be overcome if government reduced reliance on foreign products for locally made goods.
“The entire master plan is going to be an industrial city where all the products we have on our catalogue and other ones that are not there are manufactured and assembled at the same time. For example, we have refrigerators which we are going to build the plant here, we have a bottling company for water and beverages, we have one of the best water here, which is the same water the Heneken plant and 7Up are using, Nigerian Bottling company are using. It will be a small city.
“We are producing water dispenser. We are also producing air conditioners of different sizes and model and in our split family we have models with three different colours. In our package we have ones with two different colours. All our products are covered with three
years warranty, though it is subject to power surge usage because our energy system here is not reliable so we use power surge to protect the units. We are running production on air conditioners and water dispenser.”
Okechukwu said he decided to site the industry in Egede, Enugu State based on the number of higher institutions turning out graduates in the state, adding that when all the units of the area come on stream, it would employ about 1,000 workers.
“My thinking is that I should site the industry here to help my people; we have a conducive environment because the amiable governor made investment conducive in Enugu State and after checking those things, and we decided to come here. We breathe fresh air here; we have space, so after considering those things I and my brother agreed that we site the industry here.
It does not matter where the industry is located, ones you have what people needs, and they will look for you. We source our components some of them in far away China. So if you need what we have, you come down to Enugu State. We have to industrialise this area and South-east as a region. We have the largest number of institutions in Nigeria. We have more graduates coming out,” he stated.