After several months of staying idle, the country’s biggest pipe factory owned by SCC Nigeria Limited may be shut down soon as it grapples with lack of patronage amid the recession rocking the country.
The company had in October last year inaugurated the 280,000-tonne ultra-modern steel pipe manufacturing mill in Ushafa, Abuja, with President Muhammadu Buhari represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal, on the occasion.
The Project Co-ordinator, SCC Nigeria, Mr. Festus Onyenenue, spoke with our correspondent on the sidelines of a tour of the facility by some participants of the sixth Practical Content Conference.
Onyenenue said the last production the factory carried out was for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, with the delivery completed in September.
He said, “In this factory, we have a production capacity of 280,000 tonnes for helical submerged arc welded pipes. And then, we also have a brand new coating plant for three-layer polyethylene coating. But now, we are idle. Since June, we have no job to do here and we are still keeping our staff and paying salaries.
“Today, you met the factory in this way because we have a need to produce some pipes for our own internal use. At the completion of this project, this factory may be shut down in the next three or four months, and the whole members of staff will be asked to go home. But we hope that before then, something new will come in.”
The project co-ordinator decried the situation in which a huge facility that could bring money into the country had been idle because of lack of jobs, saying, “The recession has worsened the situation.”
Onyenenue added that as of the time the company was producing, it had about 300 employees working at the factory.
He said, “Right now, as we speak, I am not sure they are up to 100. And as time goes on, we will continue to reduce the number. So, it is as bad as that.
“To the best of my knowledge, there is no other factory like this in the country.”
Asked what could be done to salvage the situation, Onyenenue stated, “What the government needs to do is to channel a large chunk of the pipeline jobs to this factory; the manpower here will remain and then the money will come into the country