The African Iron and Steel Association has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to revive Ajaokuta, Delta, Jos and Oshogbo steel rolling companies.
Dr Mohammed Sanusi, the Secretary General of the association, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja,
He said that the revival of the companies would promote industrialisation and employment generation in the country.
Sanusi particularly appealed to government to complete the Ajaokuta Steel Company as it was primarily conceived as a strategic steel plant aimed at spurring economic development in the country.
He said that if these companies commenced production, they would form the nucleus of efforts to produce made-in-Nigeria vehicles, while stimulating the onset of the country’s industrial revolution.
He said that Nigeria had abundant steel raw material deposits from which the country could mass produce automobile items and other equipment if well-harnessed.
Sanusi said that Ajaokuta was projected to produce 1.3 million tonnes of steel per annum in the first phase, 2.6 million tonnes in the second phase and 5.2 million tonnes in the third phase.
He advised government to either take full charge of the companies after their revival or consider the possibility of running them via public-private partnership arrangement.
The association secretary also advised government to engage persons with technical and financial capabilities to manage the companies.
He said that the National Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe, should remain with Ajaokuta Steel Company as it was primarily established to feed Ajaokuta with iron ore.
Sanusi said that Delta, Jos and Oshogbo Steel Rolling companies had not produced one kilogramme of either iron or steel since they were sold by the Federal Government in 2005.
He advised government to rehabilitate Delta Steel Company before privatising it, stressing that government should engage experts with proven track-records to do the job.
He alleged that Delta Steel Company had been cannibalised by the Indian company which bought it for 30 million dollars.
Sanusi said that the Oshogbo Steel Company, which was sold in 2005 under a liquidation exercise, was still under lock and key since then.
He urged the Federal Government to put in place necessary measures to reposition the three steel companies to begin operations.
The association secretary said that Nigeria had large deposits of assorted mineral resources of which 44 were in commercial quantities.
He advised government to adequately fund the National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency and Research Centre at the National Metallurgical Development Centre to complete investigations on identifying coking coal deposits.
“All steel making raw material deposits have been identified. So far, it is only coking coal that is not yet identified, though some grade of it has been identified at Obi in Nassarawa State.
“Initial investigation has confirmed this deposit can be used to blend imported coking coal in the ratio of 40 to 60 per cent.
“Lack of funding is what stalled the investigation to identify the volume and spread of the deposit. Other raw materials identified include iron ore, dolomite, limestone, metallurgical and clay.’’
Sanusi urged government to address pertinent issues like insecurity, corruption and inadequate electricity supply, among others.
According to him, addressing the challenges will foster peace, industrialisation and employment opportunities in the country.
He also advised the government to look into ways to develop sustainable energy sources such as gas and other fuels to provide solid platform for the country’s industrialisation.
Sanusi said that there was the need to improve the power supply situation in Nigeria, stressing that the success of the country’s industrialisation efforts was contingent on steady electricity supply.
He urged government to give priority to the country’s industrialisation plans.
“if we have good industries, our agriculture, electricity, water, education, health will improve appreciably and this will consequently boost economic activities.
“The primary focus should be on the country’s industrialisation.
“Industries are great employers of labour; if we fail to accord priority to industrial development, we may not be able to achieve any meaningful development,’’ he said. (NAN)

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