Vitafoam Nigeria plc, one of Nigeria’s leading manufacturers of foam and flexible/rigid polyurethane products, is set to establish Nigeria’s first oil filter factory. The company says the factory will begin production in 2019.
“Nigeria does not have any oil filter company, which is bad, but Vitafoam has invested in that sector. Although it involves a highly technical process of production, investments have been made in large volumes as regards the knowledge, expertise and machines and it will commence production in the next three months, and we will introduce our oil filter into the Nigerian market,” Taiwo Adeniyi, group managing director, Vitafoam Nigeria Plc, said while addressing participants at the one-day Entrepreneurship Seminar for Undergraduates themed, ‘Polyurethane Application for Small and Medium Enterprises’ at the University of Lagos.
Adeniyi explained that economic transformation and diversification must be rooted in the development of strong SMEs, stressing that growth of the economy is directly proportional to the numbers of SMEs being created.
Adeniyi described polyurethane as materials such as fibres, plastics, clothing, footwear and generally household and industrial products, explaining that the raw materials can be manufactured as furniture parts, cooler, boxes, mattresses, garage doors, water heaters, fridges, car parts, powder puffs and many other domestic gadgets.
According to the Economic and Statistics Department, American Chemistry Council, the Polyurethane Industry operates in nearly 1000 locations in the United States, directly generating $28.6 billion output and 48,800 jobs. The top end- use markets for polyurethane consumption are building and construction, transportation, furniture and bedding industry.
“Our core objective of this seminar is how to create sustainable jobs for our youths as a support for the Federal Government’s policy of youth empowerment. Let people see why they do not need to line up and seek employment. Rather, they can create jobs for themselves. They can be chief executives as soon as they finish their schooling and start their own businesses and help to develop this economy. Vitafoam has a strong capacity to provide the required support structure for SMEs in the polyurethane industry,” Adeniyi stated.
He listed some of the challenges facing SMEs in Nigeria to include: funding, lack of technical support, difficulty in accessing raw materials, lack of necessary knowledge and relatively high stock holding, stating that Vitafoam is ready to help SMEs achieve profitability and sustainability.
The guest speaker, Gerson Silva, who runs the largest polyurethane company in Brazil and also a non-executive director of Vitafoam, while speaking on ‘Discovery and Historical Progression of Polyurethane’ stated that a wide range of products and services, especially for daily use, are derivable from polyurethane, “hence economic benefits of the technology can only continue to grow.”
Also present at the seminar was Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, vice chancellor, University of Lagos, represented by Oluwole Familoni, deputy vice chancellor, academic and research, who expressed appreciation to Vitafoam Group for its continuous support of the institution.
Olorunfemi Eniyadunmo, a final year student of the department of Chemical Engineering, University of Lagos, expressed gratitude to Vitafoam for the training and urged other corporate organisations to follow suit to empower Nigerian youths.
The entrepreneurship seminar was organised as one of Vitafoam’s new job creation strategy, aimed at expanding the scope of the SMEs in line with the economic diversification programme of the Federal Government in order to grow the economy.