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Nigeria imports $8bn steel yearly — Minister

The Minister of Steel Development, Mr Shuaib Abubakar, says Nigeria spends $8 billion to import steel into the country annually, saying it has become necessary…

The Minister of Steel Development, Mr Shuaib Abubakar, says Nigeria spends $8 billion to import steel into the country annually, saying it has become necessary for the Ajaokuta steel company to work.

The minister disclosed this during an interactive session with the House of Representatives Committee on Steel Development in Abuja on Thursday.

According to him, “The revival of Ajaokuta Steel Company will cost money and we have written a 10-year document for the revival. We will present the document to Mr President.

Abubakar said that it was in his own interest for Ajaokuta Steel to work, adding that he was from Kogi State and must push for such interest.

He said that the Federal Government paid $500 million dollars to terminate the concessional agreement with Ajaokuta, adding that the ministry was working very hard to find a solution for Ajaokuta Steel.

“It is a problem that has persisted for 45 years. We have gone to China to come and invest in the steel company, including setting up a new plant, and we have gone to seek financing,” he said.

He said that the challenges had changed as new technology had come up, and with innovation and discussion around it, but it had not been finalized.

“Funding is a big challenge to the Ministry of Steel Development. The steel industry will be the bedrock of industrialization if we have proper funding.

“I am still at a stage where I need to find a solution for the Ajaokuta steel company.”

On the $2 billion being requested to revive the Moribund steel company, the minister said it was just a preliminary calculation, adding that the figure might not be up to that.

According to him, “this is an estimate that may not be accurate at the last decimal point. It is just a process that will allow us to arrive at the right destination.

“The president has asked me to find a solution to Ajaokuta, so the figure will change pending the outcome of the technical audit.

“It’s clear to Nigeria that for this to happen, we need funding and all the help we can get from the two chambers; this is why we need it. I need all your support to make this a reality.”

Rep. Zainab Gimba, the Chairman of the House Committee on Steel Development, urged the ministry to provide it with all the procurement processes and other responses demanded by the committee.

The committee said that Ajaokuta had remained a nightmare to many, adding that now that the minister had accepted to supervise it, Nigeria expected more from him. (NAN)

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