A local company established by four Ethiopian investors, Tadash Steel Manufacturing Industry Plc, has built a steel factory at a total cost of two billion birr in Dukem town, in the Special Zone of the Oromia Regional State. Built on 50,000 sq.m of land, the factory uses scrap metals to produce reinforced bars and wire rods, which in turn are used to make nails. Founder and CEO of Tadash Steel Manufacturing Industry, Kibiryessefa Tekle, told The Reporter that considering the challenges in the local steel market and construction industry he decided to team up with his three friends to build a modern steel factory plant in Dukem, a town located in the outskirts of Addis Ababa. Construction commenced in 2016 and currently 98 percent of the work is completed.
Kibiryessefa said the machineries were purchased from Europe, Dubai and India and have been installed. The cranes were purchased from Austria, steel structure from Dubai and the foundries from a well-known Indian company. The steel plant that manufactures steel and wire rods has four foundries. The steel plant has the capacity to manufactures 600 tons of steel per day, one of the biggest in the current Ethiopian market. Kibiryessefa also said that during the construction phase, some 400 youth were employed by the project adding that 800 jobs will be created once the factory is up and running.
Kibiryessefa said the machineries installation work is completed. However, the Indian company that supplied the machineries is unable to commission the steel plant as its experts could not travel out of India due to the COVID-19 travel ban. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the experts could not leave India. Once Ethiopian Airlines resumes flights to India the experts would come and commission the plant,” he said. “We hope that the factory will start operation within three months.”
Kibiryessefa lauded the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) and Oromiya International Bank (OIB). CBE provided loans for the project while OIB provided foreign currency for the purchase of machineries.
The factory has also built a three-storey building on 1000 sq. m of land that serves as office and guest house. The steel factory needs 20 MW of energy. Tadash Steel Manufacturing Plc has spent 40 million birr to build 11 km power transmission lines that brings power from a substation near Bishoftu town.
Kibiryessefa, who spent more than 20 years in scrap metals trade, said that he decided to venture into the steel manufacturing plant after he witnessed all the challenges in the local steel and construction industries. “There is always shortage of steel in the local market. Steel is an expensive strategic commodity that is critical in the local construction industry. The country spends millions of dollars on steel import,” Kibiryessefa said.
According to him, he and his friends faced a number of challenges in building the steel manufacturing plant. “Securing bank loan is the biggest challenge. When you import steel the banks would provide you with loans. But, when you decide to build a steel factory the banks are reluctant to finance such an important industry. If I wanted to make money I would have imported and sell steel. But, I wanted to make this establishment that adds value and contribute to the development of the country and that gives me mental satisfaction,” he said. Kibiryessafa claims that foreign companies get preferential treatment adding that the system does not encourage local investors to venture into the manufacturing sector. Tadash Steel Manufacturing Plc is planning to build nail factory and an oxygen plant in the second phase. The company has already secured plot of land for the expansion project. Kibiryessefa said he and his colleagues are grateful for the support the Duken Town Administration extended to their company.