The federal government on Thursday said it is considering total ban on steel importation to encourage local steel manufacturers.
This was disclosed by the Minister for Mines and Steel, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite, during his official visit to a steel manufacturing industry in Ilorin, Kwara state, Kamwire Industry Limited.
This is as it reiterated its commitment to encourage local investors in mine and steel sector especially with potential to provide more job opportunities for Nigerian youth.
The minister, who said that government was determined to stop importation of substandard steel products into Nigeria, said, “First, we are working with Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) to address the issue. The ministry is not in control of the quality of steel products that come into the country, though we’re responsible for steel productions. We’ll work with the standard agency to control what comes in.
“The ultimate aim is to ban steel importation totally. But before we do that, we will ensure we’re able to satisfy local consumption from local production and still have excess to export. That’s where we’re heading.
“We welcome local industrialization and local entrepreneurs. We want to encourage them. I can see depth of backward integration here, from raw material to finished product.
“This is an example of what Nigeria should do. If you do this, you can imagine this complex providing over 4,000 employment opportunities. If we have replication of this all over the country, it will reduce rate of restiveness and banditry we have in the country.”
Adegbite also commended KAMWIRE industry for the steps taken so far to develop the sector.
Also speaking, the Vice Chairperson of Kamwire Holdings, Dr Bolanle Yusuf, said there is need for more attention in the Iron and Steel sector to become a national product for diverse economic benefits due to its numerous opportunities such as job creation, revenue generation and improved social welfare of the people of the nation.
She called for continuous advocacy for diversification of the economy, most importantly; in favour of the Steel sector and to guard against economic saboteurs who, she said had held us to ransom through smuggling and illegal importation of Galvanized, Aluminium and Corrugated roofing sheets into Nigeria.
According to her, “Despite the recent closure of land borders, Seaports are still porous and at the moment, Nigeria market is flooded with substandard roofing sheets, a sad scenario which calls for urgent national debate.
“Conspiracy and sharp practices among law enforcement agencies and importers are outrightly negating the Federal Government’s drive against criminality among Nigerians.
“The goal in the Iron and Steel sector’s roadmap is that it would contribute about 10 percent to our national GDP by 2025 and help diversify the nation’s economy.
“In order to realize this dream, there is urgent need for Your Excellency to engage the authority of Standard Organization of Nigeria, (SON) and Nigeria Customs Service, (NCS) to work closely with us in this regard.”