Jubilee Syringe, through its massive investment in local manufacturing, is providing jobs for youths, thereby increasing the country’s GDP. Jonathan Eze reports

Like the end of an era, it is undoubtedly a sad end for both local and business men and women whose trade involves the importation of syringe for medical practitioners’ use in Nigeria. The once blooming business would no longer be relevant owing to the birth of a manufacturing company ‘Jubilee Syringe’ in Akawa Ibom State.

This development is a plus to the federal government that had always advocated for increased foreign direct investments to help in creating jobs for unemployment Nigerians and also cushion the effects of the present recession. Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Company will in August this year commence full production of syringes in the country while another flour mill whose ground- breaking ceremony was done recently by Governor Udom Emmanuel would resume operations next year.

Located on an 8000 square meter of land area in Onna Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Jubilee Syringe, which will be the first syringe manufacturing company in Nigeria, second only to South Africa in the whole of Africa, intends to kick off with a start- up production capacity of between 350 to 400 million syringes annually, with provision for expanding the capacity to 1billion syringes by 2018.

This estimated 350 – 400 million production lines Jubilee Syringe intends to start up with in Nigeria, far overshoots that of South Africa, as the South African Company has a production capacity of 93 million, making Jubilee Syringe, upon completion and commencement of operations, the largest syringe production company in the entire African continent.

Owned by a Turkey-born business man and investor, Mr. Onur Kumral, with investments in over 17 countries of the world, and having believed that Akwa Ibom has good development policies and adequate security, in addition to the overwhelming support provided by Governor Emmanuel’s administration, he was spurred to confidently take the risk of bringing such huge investment as Jubilee Syringe into the country.

According to Kumral, even though the company is in Nigeria to make profit, its primary aim is not only to create jobs, but also to help in stabilising the nation’s economy and add value to Nigerians through training and retraining. His promise to add value to Nigerians was realised when Jubilee Syringe recently sent 12 Nigerians to Istanbul, Turkey, for advance training on key areas of Injection Machines. These 12 Nigerians were trained on the operation of Injection Moulding Machines, Maintenance of Moulds and Quality Control.

Kumral had stated in an interview recently that there is this situation in Nigeria right now where the country is losing huge dollars daily through importations and noted that there must be deliberate efforts by all to stop it. “If you are losing your dollars, you arrest the situation by simply stopping importations. And this arrest is possible only when you start producing and manufacturing inside your country. If you manufacture, you save huge dollars and use it for something else,” he advised.

Mr. Zubeyir Gulabi, who will run the daily management of Jubilee Syringe upon commencement of operations as the company’s Managing Director, said while receiving the 12 Nigerians who returned from Turkey, that they are the future of industrialisation in the state and the nation at large. He observed that there are plans by Jubilee Syringe to send more Nigerians for training especially in the area of safety, packaging and printing.

Speaking with journalists on the plans the company has and the reason for coming to Nigeria, Kumral said they are impressed with the efforts of the governments at various levels to encourage foreign investors and they believe that if they take the bold step and come into the country it will also encourage others to do the same.

He said: “That is why we are trying to encourage manufacturers to come into the country by establishing huge firms first. Do not forget that these syringe factory raw materials are in Nigeria, produced by Nigerian Petrochemical companies, and of course, all the machineries needed to start the production of syringes in Nigeria has arrived the country.”

He said their decision to berth in Akwa Ibom was borne out of their understanding of the track records of the state governor, who they have known over the years for his great reputation and huge experience in the financial institution.
“He gave us the assurance that Nigeria is the right market for such huge investment. His support has been quite tremendous and we are quite encouraged by this. We assured him that with such support from his government, we were ready to swing into action in the state. There is great potential in Africa.

At every point or opportunity, Kumral has never failed to remind whoever cares to listen that Africa provides one of the highest returns on investment, (ROI), in the world for discerning investors who can take calculated risks. Those who know him quite well or perhaps have worked closely with him can attest to his strong belief that nothing is impossible, and the Chairman of Jubilee Syringe has constantly demonstrated this conviction by taking very bold, courageous, but calculated investment risks most of which have paid off handsomely.”

Having already established business firms in some parts of the continent, notably; Ghana, Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Libya and Morocco, Kumral says that development is coming far too late in Nigeria. His words: “What we are trying to put on ground in Nigeria is what should have been done years back if the political will was there. Establishing a syringe factory in Nigeria is definitely not something we should be celebrating at this time and age. The market is here. There is the potential for four billion syringes to be sold in this country.”

He added however that though the Akwa Ibom government has given them the needed encouragement, it ends at that, as the company is a hundred per cent privately driven initiative and investment.
He added: “But to attract investors to your country, you must encourage them; investors need encouragement. This is what Akwa Ibom State government has provided us, and this explains why we have come to Akwa Ibom State to invest.
“Apart from the encouragement by the government, the state is the safest place in the country in terms of security. And of course, you know that no investor would risk investing in an unsafe environment. In Akwa Ibom, we are quite safe and our investment is safe.”

On the standard of the Syringe factory, the Chairman of Jubilee Syringe kumral said: “Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Company is a Turkish company with a great reputation and cannot possibly go beyond its standard. The technology we are bringing for the purpose of establishing this factory is the best and the latest anywhere in the world. We will be producing using European standards, and the product will be affordable for all Africans, especially, Nigerians.

“Those in the business of medicine will be quite happy about this development. Towards the end of this year, you will see huge traffic in the state because of this factory. Akwa Ibom State is going to be the hub of medical equipment in Africa, not just West Africa. The distributors are all happy and impressed.”

Stakeholders Hail Firm
Mr. Kevin, a Pharmacist with Pharmablaze Pharmaceutical Company based in Nigeria said the setting up of Jubilee Syringe factory in Akwa Ibom, is a dream come true, with respect to job creation and medical tourism in Nigeria. He said: “We in the business of medicine are quite happy because in the area of profits and risk of importation, we can say this is a major breakthrough. We can now stroll to our backdoor and buy with our own currency what we were spending huge foreign currency to import. This shows that Akwa Ibom and indeed Nigeria will become the major hub for medical facility. Don’t forget, we have the Ibom Multi-Specialist Hospital, the best hospital in Sub-Sahara Africa still in Akwa Ibom which will complement this Syringe company. We are saying many thanks to Kumral, the investor, his team and Akwa Ibom State government.”

On his part, a Pharmacist, simply identified as Sylvester, who works with Veclem Pharmaceutical Company said Jubilee Syringe is coming into the country at the right time, given the economic crunch in the country. He said: “This is the best news that is emanating from this part of the continent. This country has not really fared well in terms of establishing manufacturing companies. We import everything in Nigeria. This is sad. The leadership of this country is not doing enough in attracting industries to the country so as to create employment and also reduce huge spending as a result of importation. So establishing a Syringe company here in Akwa Ibom is a welcome development. This is what the governor promised to bring to his people; industrialistion. When the company commences full production, we in the business of medicine will be in for a great time and more Nigerians would be gainfully employed.”

“This factory is 100% private investment. The only support we got from Akwa Ibom State government is in the area of good government and economic policies, land used for the factory and of course, the security of our investment. Like I have always said, establishing this factory here is not the end of the story, it is the start of the story. It is not just bringing in the syringe factory alone; we intend to bring more investments into the country.

The governor also performed the groundbreaking Ceremony of a flour mill company with capacity to produce over 600,00 tonnes of flour mill in Onna local government area of Akwa Ibom state. It is scheduled to begin full production by 2018. The flour mill factory, which will provide direct and indirect jobs for about 1500 persons, is also a privately driven investment owned by Kumral.

Emmanuel, who spoke while inspecting the test running process at the Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing Company, said he will continue to harness his connections in the international community to bring in genuine investors to the state.