Thursday, August 8, 2019 2:54 pm
Issah Gbadebo Aderinto is the Chief Executive Officer of IGA Ship Building and Repairs Yard Limited. He has been into maritime business, practising for about 30 years now. His company is into repair of vessels. In this interview with Esther Komolafe, he explains how he started his business
What inspired you into starting this business?
Around 2003 I had a kind of dream where I saw myself surrounded by vessels. In between I fell inside the water and someone bailed me out. So the next day, when I got to Apapa I rented a boat in order to locate the place I saw in my dream. Fortunately for me when we got there I was able to recognise the place. I went back to make arrangement for the purchase of land. I acquired 10 acres. But day in day out I had a problem , I had to travel out of the country, I was outside for about 4 to 5 years . Precisely I came back around 2011, started the revolutionary process, the whole area was filled with water. We did a lot of sand filling because the place was swampy after which we were able to start operation fully and that was February 2012.
You must be one of the pioneers in this line of business…
Yes, If I am not mistaken we should be one of the pioneers in the business of ship building and repairs. From there we started this indigenous yard we should probably be pioneer when you talk of this business. One advantage I have over others are: I have worked with several shipyards before, I have worked with Nigerdock, Continental ship yard when she was alive, Naval dock yard, I was even a major contractor to the Nigerian Navy where I was mainly in charge of their war vessels. From there again I worked with Datknovsl Senegal, I also worked in Ghana ship yard before I came to settle here.
I have three companies, IGA Technology Company Limited, which is into marine and industrial spare parts, IGA Ship Building & Repairs Yard Limited, we can build ships and we can also repair ships. And the third one is Field Oil & Gas but it has been abandoned because I had my fingers burnt in the business so I had to abandon it.
You said you had been in this business for about seven years now, since you started in 2012. How has it been?
Every business has its own ups and down but what keeps a business going is the dream one has about oneself and we have not been disappointed in ourselves. We have been coming across difficulties and we have been conquering them. I can not see any difficulty that passes our energy. So far do good we are forging ahead. In fact we have best hands on ground, we can project clearly what our revenue is likely to look like, we can equally project what our future is most likely to look like and that is what business is all about. For you to have the ability yo look at your present situation and be able to make a projection about where you are going in future is a strenght. Our future is extremely bright.
Any moment from now we are expecting some foreign investors to come and join us with an input of about $200 millions. We can now say that we are bigger than Nigerdock because our objective is to be one of the 10 best in the world.
What are your Challenges?
The challenges are just finance and that is why we are going into partnership with foreign investors. Basically we are overcoming the challenges in a gradual manner but if we are to be moving with our own strength of development, we may not be able to achieve our dreams during our life span, maybe we have to rely on next generation in order to get to the promised land but with an input from the foreign investors we can get to the promised land within a shortest period of time.
It seems to me that the place is a bit quiet, although you told me that you have been here for the past seven years. Is there anything you ought to have done that you have not done yet?
Actually you just came at a time we have just dropped some vessels. We are a beehive a of activities now. Some are waiting to be lifted, about four if them, may be before the end of August we must have succeeded in lifting about five vessels on the ground then you will see a lot of activities. Three vessels just left that we worked on.
At present, the place has been a beehive of activities only it may not be up to certain level with others but I think we are coming up in view of our age, contributions and financial capability. You see the fundamental key of progress is that, it comes with inner satisfaction. As it is, it may look like there is nothing we are doing but internally in our mind we are extremely happy with our present situation. As you can see activities are going on but not well pronounced because most of the vessels have been dropped, we have undocked them .
How favourably has the Government policy been to your shipyard?
The problem I have with the so call government policy is that I am not privy to know it in the first instance and I have never bothered myself to check how the parameters look like. I have my reasons for saying that, if there is a government policy, it should be well known at least to the stakeholders, apart from NIMASA that are readily available, I have not seen any meaningful contribution in terms of asking questions as to how, when and why.
I don’t know anything about it. There was a time I heard that NIMASA brought in a floating dock and that they adveryised for Public Private Partnership (PPP). I have a space for the dockyard, I can help , I have the market. Their advertisement has not gotten to the right stakeholder yet.
Professionally I am one if the best. Drop my name, IGA ship building yard, within the west coast you will be amazed. Go to Ghana dockyard, Senegal Naval Dockyard I am respected. Professionally we are great, they should hunt for talents .If you go for the right talents you will get. Who is going to come to a secluded area asking people to come? Who will come? I have sufficient space here.
In a nutshell I have not seen any meaningful impact from the government policy. Let’s look at UK for instance. If this business were in the UK, nobody will talk about taxation until my productivity improves, all machinery must be in place, they must be sure that people are employed, what is my value added and others. At present I have about 10 boys that I am training free of charge. The so call government has no impact to us.
Can you please tell us what your Corporate Social Responsibility is in this environment?
So far so good. I have been able to link their drainage to the canal using the crane, I have also been able to engage the indigenous area boys. I have been able to harmonise them tremendously. I am more or less an area father, I sent some to school paying their school fees, while I also employed some of them
On the African day of the Sea and Ocean, what contributions did you have towards this?
Actually anything that has to do with sea and ocean should be celebrated daily, there should not a particular day for it, because water itself is life. Nobody can survive without water , It has no enemy . It is also an alternative means of transportation which is a blessing to us. It is a way that links us together all over the world. Water is so powerful that it can take you from A and you will arrive at point B on same water.
What Advice will you give the government to curb environmental pollution, in order to make the water clean and safe for human use?
There is no way you can stop people from throwing refuse into the water but you can devise an effective means of removing the refuse either at creek or in the ocean. There are machinery’ that could be design to make it possible because you will not be there when they are throwing it. We are not disciplined in this country. If government engages us in round table discussions we can devise means to tackle the problem. If we are given a go ahead nobody is in control of anything in this country, damages are done on daily basis and nobody to stop it. There is no 100% result in life. You will move from failure A B C…….. till you arrive at success Z. The problem where is the government or am I going to use my money to do it ? No. We need government assistance in order to be able to remove this waste on our water, we can even turn the waste to wealth. We need the government to encourage us.
John F Kennedy of America said don’t ask for what America can do for you but think of what you can do for America. I am not totally saying that we should all depend on government but we need a government that can come to the grass route and bring out great guys and encourage them. A good example was that Babangida era when he created NDE (National Directorate of Employment) that was integrated to graduate entrepreneur. I am a product of that program under the tutelage of Professor Ibidapo Obe who later became the Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos. It was this program that helped me sharpen my teeth business wise. We were being paid N42,000 then. I did not fail the government. All government needs to do is to look for people like us.
Today as I am talking with you if I should value my assets in total, I have over N1.4 billion worth of assets, and I have ability to generate over an average of N1 billion per year with ease. I also have value added . I have means by which foreign investors will be coming here regularly because I have the means. That vessel over there came from Ghana, the other one is from India. They pay me in dollars. I can’t collect less than $10 000 from them . Initially they were paying in dollars just recently I told them to start paying in Naira in order to minimise the stress of going to change the money to naira- a waste of time. My revenue for keeping them here for 30 days is not lmore than $10,000 . And I still have others like that too. If I want to add them up, the total amount that I am collecting from them is about #40 millions .
So supposing this NIMASA has brought its floating dock here, the revenue it would have generated would have been tremendous. Which space can be better than the space I have here? I have the best space that can accommodat it convently. I have over 300 berthing space and it I’d over 9 meters; this is the best place for them.
Is there anything you would like the World to know about this place?
All we want the world to knowis that we also exist here . We are competing very well with the best dockyards in the world. We have the best hands on ground here in Nigeria. We want the world to know that what the best dockyard is doing, we can also to it here in Nigeria. We can rub shoulder with anyone in the world when it comes to this profession. Presently we have registered with ISO, (International Standard Organisation) and we are about to register with INSD.