By Victoria Onehi
The Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, has disclosed that to revitalise the Ajaokuta Steel Complex and get it to work optimally, the Ministry would require about $3-5bn.
Prince Audu stated this when he received a delegation of the People Expertise and Excellence Foundation on Thursday in the Ministrys’ Headquarters in Abuja.
Speaking during the visit, the Minister disclosed that Ajaokuta has the capacity and potential to deliver high quality steel needed for the industrialisation of the country, adding that the Ministry is working on a 3-year Road Map for the revitalisation of Ajaokuta Steel Plant and a 5-year Road Map to revive the Steel Sector generally.
Stating the Ministry’s plan to revive Ajaokuta in phases, he disclosed that the Ministry has sought financing to re-start the Light Steel Mill in Ajaokuta for the production of iron rods, noting that the production of iron rods in Ajaokuta Light Steel Mill will stop the importation of iron rod and help shore up Foreign Exchange for the country.
In a statement by the Ministry, Audu enjoined all stakeholders to rise up to the challenge of making the Nigerian Steel Sector work, as it has capacity to grow the economy, reduce unemployment and grow the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Steel Development/Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Mary A Ogbe, thanked the Foundation for offering to give professional and genuine advice to the Ministry, and assured of the Ministry’s committment to ensure it leaves a tangible mark in the Steel Sector.
Earlier, the Ag. Chairman BOT, of the People Expertise and Excellence Foundation, PEEF, Alh. Mashood Yusuf, who represented the Chairman, enumerated the functions of the Foundation to be: Collate and disseminate relevant up-to-date information on management trends and challenges with a view to facilitate critical discussions and proffer far reaching practical solutions. Also,to develop and design impact techniques for enhanced productive work in Nigeria towards improving the Gross Domestic Product as well as support skills development initiatives for the workforce in Nigeria and Africa, among others.
He stated that PEEF believed that steel production is the key to industrialisation, adding that all the nation’s efforts at infrastructural development needs will demand huge quantities of steel, which can be met locally if the Steel Sector is developed, noting that Nigeria has the resources to develop production by restoring existing steel plants.