FG vows to revamp Ajaokuta steel industry

Posted by News Express | 22 December 2015 | 3,916 times

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Mr Kayode Feyemi, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, said the Federal Government would not allow ‘international conspiracies’ to hinder the revamping of Ajaokuta and other steel industries in Nigeria.

Fayemi made the statement during the inaugural briefing on the state of solid minerals sector and way forward for Nigeria on Monday in Abuja.

He said there were international conspiracies on the revamping of Nigeria’s steel industries before the current administration.

He emphasised the commitment of the current administration to fix Ajaokuta Steel Company without any hindrance.

“I do not want to believe that Ajaokuta cannot be viable if money is spent on it.

“International conspiracy did not stop China from becoming steel giant and India from advancing its steel industry; nothing can stop the revamping of Nigeria steel industries.

“We are the architect of our own misfortune; no international conspiracy can stop a determined nation from realising its visions and objectives; we are a nation with potentials, Ajaokuta will be revived.”

He said Ajaokuta steel was not privatised but concessioned by former President Olusegun Obasanjo's administration in 2005 for 10 years but the agreement was revoked in 2008 by Late Musa Yar’adua's administration.

“There is a legal issue going on between the Federal Government and the Global Infrastructure Company Limited on the concession; we must finalise this first.

“We will have a direction before the first quarter of 2016 whether the ministry is taking over the company for operation or resolve the legal issue.

“Then, we will operate Ajaokuta, Itakpe and Delta steel companies.”

He said the amount quoted to revive Ajaokuta steel was highly exorbitant that Nigeria would need financial support to be able to produce liquid steel and other steel products.

He said if Nigeria commenced the production of steel, it would reduce foreign exchange being spent on steel importation and also create jobs locally.

He said the president had saddled his ministry with the responsibility to revive the steel industries in the country to spin revenue.

He explained that Nigeria's minerals were being exported often without any record from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development.

“Gold, lead zinc, barret and other minerals are being exported but no record to show for it, but this will soon change.”

He said based on the current data, Nigeria’s minerals made up of about 0.34 per cent of gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“That means the sector contributes N400 billion in value to the economy; it is smaller than its true potential as the vast majority of our mining assets have yet to be exploited.”

According to him, the sector is faced with both external and internal challenges and constraints; the global mining market is in turmoil as key sources of demand prices over past two decades have declined.

He said the internal challenges facing Nigeria mining included limited infrastructure, insufficient geological data, limited cooperative federalism, low productivity, illegal artisanal mining and community challenges and insufficient funding.

He said in few months time, the ministry would accelerate investor confidence in the mining market, upgrade the Mining Cadestre Office, integrate the artisanal and small scale miners into the formal economy.

On World Bank intervention fund released for the sector in 2007, he said part of it was used to refurbish the ministry's building, the mining geo-science institute and empowered small scale artisanal miners. (NAN)

•Photo shows Dr Fayemi.

Source: News Express

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