Cost-competitive contracting in GhanaDecember 7, 2021
Abdallah Aschkar, CEO of Memot Company, talks to The Energy Year about challenges facing smaller local companies in Ghana’s engineering and construction sector and how the company remains profitable. Memot Company is a general contractor specialised in building assets for the petrochemicals sector.
What major challenges does the engineering and construction sector face in Ghana?
Business was tough during 2020. Finance and cashflow are a big problem in this country. Large projects need guarantees and backing from banks. Only major construction companies have access to them. Larger companies also have more flexible financial capabilities and can wait for three months while smaller companies need to be paid in four to six weeks.
Nevertheless, Ghana is a good place to invest. Labour is affordable and one can amass the right calibre of workers for a project.
What is the company’s output capacity?
Our company deals in all areas of metal and steel construction, ranging from storage tanks to civil construction. At our peak, we have around 150-160 workers, while our minimum is 45-50. It fluctuates depending on the job. We have amassed a considerable amount of gear during our construction projects, mostly mobile cranes, large rolling machines, jacking and lifting equipment for tank fabrication and equipment for sandblasting and painting.
Which are Memot Company’s main areas of expertise?
We are general contractors specialised in the petrochemicals industry; our core business has always been the construction of tank farms and fuel depots, including vertical and underground tanks, pipe laying and fabrication. Most of the time we work as subcontractors for bigger construction companies who have the contracts, exposure and financial power to give guarantees and finance the projects. About 60-70% of our work is related to the energy sector. We are always ready to grow according to the projects we get.
What is the company’s footprint in Ghana?
We have constructed tanks for Tema Fuel Company, Tema Lube Oil Company, Chase Petroleum Ghana and Sahara Group. We have developed petrol stations, provided tower fabrications and erections and constructed bulk oil storage facilities. We also work in other countries. We did tank restorations for South Atlantic Petroleum in Benin and similar projects in Nigeria.
We work for larger contractor companies and act as partners to them. We are currently doing a pipeline subcontracted by Harlequin International. We did the work on the new onshore 6-kilometre, 18-inch gas pipeline for the Tema LNG import terminal.
How does Memot Company remain competitive with larger companies in the market?
The reason we get jobs is because of our cost. While large oil and gas companies usually keep a large overhead, we keep a minimum staff of core engineers and me. We deliver locally. We are leaner and more flexible and can adjust our pricing accordingly. We manage by using local content. We only equip ourselves for the specifics of each project.
About Memot Company
Memot Company is an indigenous fabrication and manufacturing company, with a track record of 40 years of providing construction services to the industrial sector. From its yard in Tema, the company has participated in flagship projects in the petrochemicals sector. Its core business is the construction of tank farms and fuel depots, including vertical and underground tanks, pipelaying and fabrication, loading gantries and pumping equipment installation, firefighting installation and mechanical and civil construction. With expertise in tank manufacturing and maintenance, Memot Company today has a footprint in West Africa, delivering projects in Nigeria, Benin and other regional markets.