• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Nigeria spends over $4bn on steel importation annually — Minister

$1.4trn needed to align iron, steel industry with climate goals – Wood Mackenzie

Shuaibu Audu, the minister of steel development on Friday said that Nigeria spends in excess of $4 billion on steel importation annually. This was as he stressed on the urgency to revive the dormant steel industry.

The minister who disclosed this during a press conference in Abuja on Friday, said that the Ajaokuta Steel which was set up to be an avenue for industrialization in Nigeria, more than four decades ago has hit a brick wall.

According to him, “the Nigerian steel industry hasn’t done so well in terms of local production, and consumption of steel is actually in excess of 5 million metric tonnes. The local production of the steel is a very small fraction of the total amount that is consumed in Nigeria.

“As you know, the Ministry of steel development was created by President bola Ahmed Tinubu in August 2023, basically, with the mandate to revive the steel industry which has really been struggling since independence more than 60 years ago.”

Plans ongoing to establish a new steel plant in Nigeria

To revive the industry, Audu disclosed that the ministry was working on a 10 year roadmap for the revival of the steel industry as a well 3 year road map for the revival of the Ajaokuta Steel.

He also stated plans to were ongoing to concession the Ajaokuta Steel. “We would be to concession the Ajaokuta steel complex to people that have the core competence to be able to get the job done. As we know Ajaokuta has about 44 different production units of production plants within the 24,000 hectares in terms of the land.

“Right now, 90 percent of our steel demand is imported. You know, we spent in excess of $4 billion in terms of importation of steel. We want to reverse that trend of 90 percent import and 10 percent local production.

“Ideally what I want to get to is 90 percent of local production, and then 10 percent import. That is where we would like to get to and part of what we need to do to achieve that would be to pass the metallurgical industry bill for the steel and metals industry, as well as the National steel Council Act.

“So these are some of the things that we need to do is a difficult task. As you know, the steel industry is a perquisites and a very important component of industrialising the country,” he said.

He explained that in effort to revive the industry, the ministry will revive the light steel mill, for the production of iron rods which will be off taken by the ministry of works for construction of infrastructure acriss the country.

The minister speaking further disclosed plans to engage with foreign investors to start a new steel plant. “So the minister of defence and myself were in China in January to discuss with the management of WUHAN steel group, to set up a steel plant in Nigeria.

“You know, we expect that with all these, we should be able to bring in in excess of $10 billion into the economy and create in excess of 500,000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigeria.

“Also, part of what I’ll also be doing in the very near future is also to visit indigenous steel companies. You know, I don’t want the indigenous steel companies to feel left out. The federal government is here to support them, and to ensure that your business continues to grow,” he said.