The Federal government of Nigeria on Friday finalised a ten-year roadmap for revamping the steel and metals industry, and a three-year roadmap to revive the Ajaokuta steel complex.
It also said that Nigeria will expend about N35 million to produce 50,000 metric tons of iron rods. Disclosing this in Abuja, at the press briefing, Minister of Steel Development, Prince Audu Shuaibu Abubakar said that Nigeria would need between two to five million dollars to revive the entire steel complex.
Abubakar explained that in an effort to boost the sector, the ministry will revive the light steel mill, for the production of iron rods which will be taken by the ministry of works for construction of infrastructure across the country.
He said: “The Ajaokuta and steel plans which were set up to be an avenue for industrialisation of Nigeria, for more than four decades, have hit a brick wall. The steel industry hasn’t done so well in terms of local production, local production, and consumption of steel is actually in excess of 5 million metric tons.
“However, the local production of the steel is a very, very small fraction of the total amount that is consumed in Nigeria. Most of the steel that is produced locally, is actually made from scrap metals as opposed to going through the production using all the natural resources.
“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.”
The minister expressed concerns about the over $4 billion Nigeria spends on steel importation annually, as he stressed on the urgency to revive the dormant steel industry.
He added that plans were underway to concession the Ajaokuta Steel. “We would like 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.
Audu said: “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.
“These are some of the things that we need to do which is a difficult task. As you know, the steel industry is a prerequisite and a very important component of industrialising the country.”
He added, “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 will 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.”