SHINAGO INTERNATIONAL in NKOK SEZ, Gabon Special Economic Zone SA (GSEZ)
SHINAGO INTERNATIONAL, investor from Gujarat, India, have leased 4 Ha of industrial land for their Saw Mill operations in Nkok SEZ. Their unit is now operation for over 2 years.
We at Modern Woodwork, India are pleased to present an exclusive interview with Mr Kannan, the Director General of SHINAGO INTERNATIONAL. The conversation with Mr. Kannan should apprise our Readers about the accomplishments of this Company, who are originally from India,and a growth chart achieved by them in a short span of two years with the active help from GSEZ SA.
Modern Woodwork: We congratulate you & your esteemed Company for setting up the State of the Art Band Sawing facility in SEZ at Nkok, Gabon. Readers of Modern Woodwork would like to know more about activities of SHINAGO INTERNATIONAL.
Mr. Kannan: We are currently running a sawmill to process 25,000 cubic meters of sawn timber per year. In near future, we are planning to put up another factory to gradually increase the production.
Modern Woodwork: Can you please tell us what had been the motivation to start a Saw Mill in Gabon. Also about what type of timber species are available in Gabon?
Mr. Kannan: The massive forest resources, sustainable supply of timber as a result of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) practices prescribed to foresters by Gabonese Republic are our primary motivation factors to start a Saw Mill in Gabon. Gabon’s tropical forests covers 22.8 million hectares, i.e. 88% of the country’s land surface and offers enormous possibilities with a logging potential of 400 million cubic meter of timberwith more than 400 species including Okoumé, Iroko, Beli, Ovangakol, Dabema, Sapelli, Sipo, Acajau, Kossipo, Andoung, Gheombi, Tali, Padouk, Debetou, Okan, Azobe, Movingui, Belinga, Kevazingo etc.
Modern Woodwork: What is your opinion about overall industrial climate in Gabon? Do you feel that the country “Gabon” is suitable for large scale investment?
Mr. Kannan: Gabon has been a stable country since its independence. The President of the Gabonese Republic H.E. Ali Bongo Ondimba has a political strategy that is favourable to investors. The set-up of the SEZ at Nkok is an example of the best policies put in place for a stable business environment.
Modern Woodwork: Setting up a new business in a foreign country should have been a mammoth task.How did you manage various approvals for setting up the factory? How do you rate the ease of doing business in Nkok SEZ?
Mr. Kannan: Setting up a new business in a foreign territory is always a challenge but Single Window Clearance Facility of GSEZ is the best highlighted aspect of this SEZ. All concerned 17 departments, from which approvals for setting up and operating an industry are required, are housed within a single building within the SEZ.
Modern Woodwork: What you would like to tell us about the infrastructure and facilities provided by GSEZ SA in Nkok SEZ. Do they help you to resolve issues related to your utility requirements?
Mr. Kannan: Development of Nkok SEZ is an example for the concept of “Supply before the Demands set in”. The entire first phase of 600 ha of SEZ was fully developed even before entry of the first industrial unit. GSEZ SA as O&M Authority of the SEZ provides reliable utilities like electricity, water etc. The general estate management i.e. roads, street light, security and general cleanliness in SEZ has also been remarkable which ensures healthy work environment. GSEZ SA has an efficient team who are always ready to work and cooperate with us in resolving issues relating to utilities.
Modern Woodwork: What is your message for our readers, as many of them are a new generation just planning to enter or expand their woodworking undertakings?
Mr. Kannan: We took the decision to start saw mill operations here because Gabon SEZ is situated geopolitically in the right place and has water, road and railway access. Additionally, we benefit from the exoneration of duties on material, importation and exportation of goods. I would say “Welcome All” because Gabon is a good place for investment in manufacturing sector and especially wood transformation.
Gabon Special Economic Zone (GSEZ) SA is a successful Public Private Partnership project between Olam International Ltd (Singapore), Africa Finance Corporation and Gabonese Republic, Africa. Gabon is fast emerging as the West Central Africa’s manufacturing hub and they welcome entrepreneurs from across the globe to benefit from the business opportunities unlocked by SEZ at Nkok. SEZ at Nkok currently has investors from 17 nationalities and foreign direct investment expected is more than USD$ 1.7 billion. Out of the total 96 investors in the SEZ, 30 are from India.