• Monday, July 15, 2024
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How government can resuscitate Ajaokuta Steel Company- MAN

Buhari has charted right path for Ajaokuta’s future – Ex-NMS president

To halt capital flight and foreign trade deficits to Nigeria in the basic metal, fabricated iron and steel products sector, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called for 100 percent indigenisation of iron and steel industries, especially the federally-owned Ajaokuta Steel Company.

MAN argued that the proposed privatisation and take-over of Ajaokuta Steel Company by foreign investors would do more harm than good to the steel plant, saying “Nigeria needs to pride herself as the giant of Africa by making judicious use of highly talented, patriotic and committed indigenous investors rather than foreign capitalists.”

Speaking at a stakeholders meeting in Ilorin on Thursday, Kamoru Yusuf, chairman, basic metal, fabricated iron and steel products sector of MAN, noted that the future of iron and steel business in Nigeria would heavily be dictated by the policy thrust of the government. He urged the Federal Government to drop the idea of bringing foreign investors to take over the state-owned Ajaokuta steel plant.

“Without mincing words, the assets should not be handed over to foreign investors; rather, it should be managed 100 percent by a competent indigenous investor who had demonstrated capability with evidence of success stories on existing steel plants and wire processing factories.

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“With this, government can and may own 40 percent, while the investor will own 60 percent. This will no doubt, enhance easy, sustainable, and rewarding business fortunes for the nation. Every phase and process of the investment must be given attention and priority”, he said.

He believed the proceeds would remain here and would be re-invested into the economy, if indigenous steel investors are given the chance to resuscitate Ajaokuta Steel Company. He asked FG to take a cue from developed countries by allowing credit insurance underwriters to operate in Nigeria as investment in the iron and steel business is capital-intensive with huge risks.

“We believe that with policy shift, some benefits will accrue, this would complement the Backward-Integration Policy of the Government, which seeks to preserve our scarce foreign exchange and create employment for millions of Nigerians directly and indirectly.

“There will be more liquidity in the Nigerian economy and Nigeria would have the opportunity of competing with her peers on the continent and across the globe. Nigeria would be able to participate successfully in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and compete favourably among countries on the continent.