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Ajaokuta plant, steel sector can be revived – Minister

Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, has expressed optimism that the Ajaokuta Steel Company, as well as the steel sector in Nigeria can…

Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, has expressed optimism that the Ajaokuta Steel Company, as well as the steel sector in Nigeria can be revived.

He spoke Thursday in Abuja when he received members of the People’s Enterprise and Empowerment Foundation (PEEF) delegation on a courtesy visit.

Audu said contrary to a report that he said N35bn could revive Ajaokuta Steel, what is actually needed to revive the steel sector in Nigeria is about $2bn to $5bn dollars.

He said: ”Something completely inaccurate was reported in the media yesterday, which said that we needed N35billion to revive the entire Ajaokuta Steel Plant, it is not possible, what we actually need to revive the entire Steel Plant is between $2bn and $5bn.

“That is what is required. That money clearly cannot be raised locally. All of that money cannot be raised locally. So part of the plan, the medium term plan, we’re going to put together a three year roadmap for revitalization and revival of Ajaokuta Steel, which will now be approved by Mr. President.”

Speaking earlier, Alh Mashood Yusuf, a member of the PEEF, who represented the Chairman, PEEF Board of Trustees (BoT), congratulated the Minster on his appointment.

He said: “Nigeria has the resources to develop production by restoring existing steel plants, with minimal external cooperation and a clear road map with a visionary implementation team enabled by quality Human Resources.

“There is no harm in inviting Steel users for many industrial products to join our steel industry as partners, investors or simply meeting Nigeria’s local needs from inside the country using internal inputs of labour, steel, and buoyant market.

“PEEF hereby seeks from the HM of SD the date for a follow-up meeting and a formal interface within the Ministry to help interpret our ideas or help provide solutions that the steel industry requires when obstacles arise.”

The Executive Secretary, PEEF, Dr Musa Rabiu said: “We are here to offer our expertise regarding what could be done to revive the steel sector in Nigeria.

“We are focused on the manufacturing sector, we cannot industrialize without our steel sector being up and running. We believe this is the beginning of this collaboration. We want to see more of these going forward.”

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