A resident of Epukiro in the Omaheke Region has not given up on his 18-year-old dream to establish a multi-million-dollar pulp paper manufacturing plant in Gobabis. Hiskia Tjatjitua said his ambition to enter the manufacturing business started as early as 1998 when he observed the country exports a lot of waste paper to South Africa and then imports pulp paper from the same destination.
Tjatjitua’s dream of getting Namibia Pulp Paper off the ground has now progressed to a stage where he has appointed an architectural firm to design the manufacturing plant, which he says was subsequently approved by the Chinese company that will supply a complete 1880mm tissue line and related technical services to him. Tjatjitua is also adamant that the proposed plant supports certain aspects of President Hage Geingob’s Harambee Prosperity Plan, as well as the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development’s (MITSMED’s) Growth at Home strategy.
“By December this year I want to see infrastructure taking shape on the land I have acquired in Gobabis and during the first quarter of 2017 I hope to start with production,” Tjatjitua said yesterday. He added that once in full operation the plant is expected to produce six tonnes of pulp paper per day, which is the equivalent of about 3.7 million toilet rolls per month.
In a letter to Tjatjitua dated 12 May 2016, the MITSMED reaffirmed its support to Namibia Pulp Paper. “Namibia Pulp Paper cc and Mr Hiskia Tjatjitua have received numerous support from our ministry since 1999 in the form of exposure visits, business plan formulation and guarantee on loan, through the Small Business Credit Guarantee Scheme. As such the ministry reaffirms its commitment to see Namibian enterprises entering the economic mainstream and contributing to Growth at Home,” reads the letter from MITSMED’s Permanent Secretary Gabriel Sinimbo.
Last month New Era reported that the planned pulp paper factory will convert pulp into serviettes, toilet paper and facial tissues, amongst others. Currently, government spends about N$3 million a month on toilet paper for all its ministries, offices and agencies.
Presently, Namibia Pulp Paper does not have any start-up capital, but on April 18 Tjatjitua submitted a business plan to the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) for assessment. According to Tjatjitua, DBN has assessed the plan and is expected to provide feedback in the near future.
The estimated total cost of the project was N$20 million, all costs inclusive, but this amount has increased slightly to between N$22 million and N$25 million due to the devaluing South African rand against major currencies. This amount, says Tjatjitua, will be used to acquire the equipment and machinery from China, build the factory, purchase vehicles for operations and meet the operational costs during the first six months of production.
Meanwhile, the Omahake Regional Council and the Gobabis Town Council were reportedly impressed with the business idea and decided to avail land for the project at a cost of N$350 000. The land made available to Namibia Pulp Paper covers 10 000 square metres (1 hectare). A ground-breaking 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.
Tjatjitua added that once operational, the company’s main customer will be the Namibian government, which spends up to N$3 million a month on toilet paper, and the second most important customers will be paper converters, wholesalers and neighbouring countries.