Nigeria’s President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has given approval for the formation of a five-member committee tasked with initiating the phased revival of the Ajaokuta steel mill. The Minister of Steel Development, Shuaibu Audu, announced this after a closed-door meeting with the President.
The committee includes the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun; Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Doris Uzoka; Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake; Minister of Defence, Muhammadu Badaru; and Minister of Steel Development, Shuaibu Audu.
Audu stated that completing the projects assigned to the committee, including the revival of the Ajaokuta steel mill, could result in the creation of over 500,000 jobs under President Tinubu’s administration.
The committee aims to raise funds locally to restart and rebuild the light steel mill at the Ajaokuta Steel Plant. The revived mill is expected to produce iron rods used for the Ministry of Works’ plan to construct 30,000 kilometres of roads across Nigeria. Audu estimated that reviving the entire Ajaokuta Steel plant would cost between $2 and $5 million, while restarting the light steel mill would require about N35 billion.
In addition, the committee reported progress with the Lu’an Steel Company, one of China’s top 20 steel companies, which has committed to setting up a new steel plant in Nigeria. The Chinese company is expected to deploy an advanced team to Nigeria by the end of February 2024.
Furthermore, discussions with Jindal Steel, which pledged $5 billion at the G20 Summit in India, indicated their seriousness about the commitment. The Nigerian government is working with Jindal Steel to secure an ideal location, either through a greenfield project or the acquisition of an existing plant like the Delta steel plant.
The committee also addressed plans to establish military hardware capabilities at the Ajaokuta steel plant, with the Chinese team agreeing to assist in building these capabilities in one of the production units.