A resident of Epukiro in the Omaheke Region will soon realise his dream to establish a multi-million-dollar manufacturing pulp paper plant to assist Namibia to reduce its dependence on pulp paper imports from South Africa.
The planned pulp paper factory will also turn pulp into serviettes, toilet paper and facial tissues, among others. Currently, government spends about N$3 million a month on toilet paper for all its ministries, offices and agencies.
Hiskia Tjatjitua, who is born and bred in Omaheke, said his idea of setting up the Namibia Pulp Paper started as early as 1998 after he observed that Namibia exports a lot of waste paper to South Africa.
Presently, Namibia Pulp Paper does not have any startup capital, but on April 18, Tjatjitua submitted a business plan to the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) for assessment.
On May 9, the initial assessment from DBN was completed and the bank wanted to be advised on the condition for the purchase of the land from Gobabis Municipality, whereafter Namibia Pulp Paper approached Namsov Fund to assist.
The estimated total cost of the project is N$20 million, all costs inclusive. This amount, he says, would be used to acquire equipment and machinery from China, build the factory, purchase vehicles for operations and meet the operational costs during the first six months of production.
“Getting access to this huge sum is a difficult process and, therefore, I also approached Namsov Fund to assist in meeting our goal,” he told New Era.
He said DBN also enquired on the progress of the building plan, the bill of quantities for the construction of the building, as well the expertise of the technical partner in the project, including their responsibilities in terms of supply of equipment, as well as ongoing maintenance.
The plant is to be set up at Gobabis. The premises from where the intended business will operate are situated in Gobabis Townlands Farm No. 2012 on the eastern bank of Nossob River, adjacent to the Gobabis Sewage Works.
Omahake Regional Council and Gobabis Town Council were impressed with the business idea and decided to avail land for the project at the cost of N$350 000. The land made available to Namibia Pulp Paper covers 10 000 square metres (1 hectare).
A groundbreaking ceremony was held on April 8, officiated by Omaheke Governor Festus Ueitele.
Once operational the company intends to employ 330 people. Namibia Pulp Paper appointed Louis Burger Quantity Surveyors and Architects INK. The professional partner company is a Chinese firm, called Zhengzhou Guangmao Machinery Manufacturing.
According to Tjatjitua, once operational, the company’s main customer will be the Namibian government and the second most important customers will be the paper converters, wholesalers and neighbouring countries.
He said his idea grew when he met former minister of trade and industry Hidipo Hamutenya during a meeting with business people in Epukiro Constituency in 1999.
“It is where I met him and discussed business opportunities. During that meeting I requested the minister to take my idea further to the Small and Medium Enterprises Division of the Industrial Development Directorate,” he noted.
Further, he said, his business concept originated as a result of tours he undertook to India and South Africa in 1999 and 2008, respectively. Both trips were organised by the then Ministry of Trade and Industry through the SME Division of the Industrial Development Directorate.
“I further explored the idea of producing raw material from waste paper and to convert toiletpaper and paper-related products when I visited factories in India and South Africa that are producing these products. In 2003 I also – through the assistance of the Namibian government – went to Angola to explore the market of paper and related products,” he said.
Inappropriate waste management leads to a number of societal problems, such as increased risk of epidemics, air pollution caused by illegal waste burning and pollution of groundwater. He said his waste paper recycling project would assist in environmental impact reduction.
“At Namibia Pulp Paper cc, we care about the cleanliness and sustainable use of natural resources in our country and the entire planet at large. We feel a responsibility to leave our natural environment to future generations in better shape,” he noted.