VALCO’s reactivation will provide 8,000 direct jobs – Oteng-Adjei
The re-activation of the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) which received Cabinet approval last month, would provide a unique opportunity to create 8,000 direct jobs, says Dr Joe Oteng-Adjei, Minister of Energy.
The Minister who made the disclosure in Tema on Monday, said re-activated VALCO would provide additional 40,000 indirect jobs within the more than 150 downstream industries and the several other companies engaged in aluminium fabrication.
Addressing a workers’ durbar during a familiarisation visit to the Company, the Energy Minister pointed out that government viewed a vibrant VALCO as one of the critical agents for the realisation of the nation’s aspirations.
This, he said, was because it would serve as an anchor for Ghana’s Integrated Industrial Development Strategy through Aluminium to perfectly fulfil the dream of Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah of an Integrated Aluminium Industry (IAI) in the country.
Dr Oteng-Adjei noted that a properly mainstreamed VALCO held a significant place in the country’s economic transformation agenda because apart from creating massive employment through rapid industrialisation, there would be growth in Gross Domestic Product, poverty alleviation and the optimisation of the use of gas from the oil find.
He assured Management and Staff of the Company that everything possible would be done to ensure that it paid relatively competitive prices for power at higher metal prices.
“At lower metal prices, VALCO needs to be supported with the right power prices to continue to support the downstream industries which have been proven together with VALCO, to make significant fiscal and social contributions to Ghana’s development.”
Mr Emmanuel Lartey, Managing Director (MD) of VALCO told the Energy Minister that the company had employed 400 new hands, and that an additional 300 would be taken on when it stepped up its operational capacity.
He said after the shutdown in January last year, VALCO started preparatory activities with the re-start of its carbon plant on November 16.
Mr Lartey explained that the primary objective of the IAI Project was to establish a vertically integrated industry in Ghana comprising the mining of bauxite between 400 and 700 million tons; the refining of the bauxite to produce alumina; the smelting to convert the alumina into aluminium and the fabricating of the aluminium to produce shaped components for consumers.
The VALCO MD said the nation was endowed with all the major raw materials required for the IAI, namely, bauxite, salt, lime and energy, and expressed optimism that the company would be partnered to industrialise the nation by adding value to those raw materials, in order to generate employment and revenue for the country.
During an open forum, the Energy Minister pledged that his Ministry was determined to ensure that VALCO achieved its set goals and objectives.