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We'll revamp Ajaokuta Steel company to create 500,000 jobs - Minister

The minister said that the administration would provide an enabling environment for local steel industries to grow.

Ajaokuta steel plant in Kogi State. (Premium Times)

Audu, while speaking at a media parley on Friday in Abuja, said the plan was part of efforts by President Bola Tinubu’s administration to revamp the steel industry and shore up the process of industrialisation in Nigeria.

He said that data on technical analysis and evaluation by experts indicated that the government requires between $2 billion to $5 billion US dollars to revive the Ajaokuta steel company.

He said that the ministry had prepared an internal roadmap, which they intend to commission consultants that would bring in global perspective to it.

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“We want to launch the three-year roadmap in the next three months,” Audu said.

According to the minister, part of the plan is to concession the company to people who have the core competence to get the job done.

He said that critical stakeholders would be consulted to ensure that the awardees possess the requisite competency.

“We are looking at where different aspects can be handled by different people with different core competencies,” he said.

Audu explained that the roadmap would involve reviving the 44 different production units of the steel company piecemeal through its concession to investors.

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He said that the Light Steel Mill (LSM) section would be revived for the production of iron rods.

“What we plan to do is to start the Light Steel Mill or the LSM section, which will cost us about N35 billion to be able to produce 50,000 metric pounds of iron rods,” he said.

According to the minister, discussions are ongoing with the ministers in charge of Defence and Interior in collaboration with Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) to revive its engineering workshop to produce military hardware for the military

He said that the ministry was also negotiating with foreign investors for the establishment of a new steel plant, noting that steel was in great demand in Nigeria, the highest population of more than 220 million in Africa.

Audu said that an Indian company, Jindal Steel had made a commitment to President Tinubu in Sept. 2023 on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Delhi, India, to invest $ 5 million US dollars in establishing a steel plant in Nigeria.

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He added that talks were also ongoing with a Chinese company, Luan Steel holding in the same regard.

The minister said that the revamping of the Ajaokuta Steel company and investment by the foreign companies were projected to bring in an excess of $10 billion US dollars into Nigeria’s economy as well as create 500,000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians.

He said that 90 per cent of steel in the country was being imported and President Tinubu’s administration was determined to reverse the trend, which could be achieved with the passing of the Nigerian Metallurgical Industrial Bill as well as the National Steel Council Act.

The minister said that the administration would provide an enabling environment for local steel industries to grow.

He pointed out that President Tinubu was fully in support and committed to the growth of the steel sector being the bedrock for industrialisation.

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