The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite, Monday, disclosed that Nigeria spends $3.3 billion importing metals annually.
Adegbite who represented by his Senior Special Assistant (Technical), Olu Adedayo, made this known during the official handing over ceremony of the steel plant assets owned by Standard Metallurgical Company, SMC, Sagamu, Ogun State, to KAM Steel Integrated Company, a subsidiary of KAM Holding which acquired it at N60 billion.
According to him, Nigeria has over 30 steel manufacturers with a production capacity of 2.2 million tonnes per annum, which they source and us basically scraps and billets mainly imported from China.
He said:“Nigeria has over 30 steel manufacturers but can only produce 2.2 million tonnes per annum using scraps and billets imported mainly from China.
“It is on record that Nigeria spends an average of about $3.3 billion importing metals annually. “It is therefore with immeasurable joy that I congratulate, MD/CEO, Dr. Kamorudeen, and his team for achieving this great milestone in the history of indigenous effort at steel making in Nigeria.
Prior to the takeover of standard Metallurgical Company (SMC) by KAM Industries, my metallurgical field officers had reported following their inspectorate duties. “The acceleration of industrial development lies primarily in the private sector while the Government provides the enabling environment.
On this note, I want to once again congratulate KAM industry and thank stakeholders’ and everyone present here today. I wish you success in your future endeavors, thank you and God bless.”
He also assured that the Ministry is working assiduously to ensure the enactment of the Nigeria Metallurgical Industry bill for the proper regulation of the industry.
“The management of the Ministry has been working assiduously towards the enactment of the Nigeria Metallurgical Industry Bill in order to have an enabling law for effective regulation of the Metal Sector in Nigeria.
“The Ministry solicits the support of all stakeholders’ especially metal sector operators in order to realize this. The Ministry is also working hard towards fast-tracking the operationalization of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited and the National Iron Ore Mining Company.
“The Government is encouraging metal sector operators, especially local producers of metallurgical mineral raw materials and steel metal products to synergize with miners towards ensuring local beneficiation of raw materials in Nigeria”, he said. The Minister also expressed optimism that efforts by the industry will boost downstream activities in the metal sub-sector.
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“This would put an end to the dig it and ship it syndrome and boost downstream activities in the metal sector for jobs and wealth creation, the Federal Government of Nigeria is also encouraging all-metal sector operators to comply with the set standard for the production of all metal products in order to ensure that our local products compete favorably in the international market.
“In order to do so, metal operators, artisans, and other skilled operators in the metal sector are encouraged to sharpen their skills via the metallurgical training centers in Nigeria.”
He also disclosed that the government is working hard to stop the import of metallurgical raw materials and products that can be produced locally and support the development of home-grown technologies in line with local content.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of KAM Holding, Dr Iyadunni Bolanle Yusuf, explained the decision of the company to acquire the N60billion Steel Plant Assets owned by the Standard Metallurgical Company, SMC, as part of efforts to boost its capacities for the iron and steel production.
According to Yusuf, the company will create 10,000 jobs, and also appealed to the government on supporting indigenous manufacturers in boosting local capacity and content in the steel industry.
She said, “Today, KAM Steel has acquired the steel plant formerly owned by SMC and we believe that with this milestone, our capacities would increase tremendously and will reposition Nigeria as a self-sufficient nation and we hope that the Federal Government shall continue to provide the enabling environment and support for continuing the actualization of the vision of the highly committed Nigerian behind this project.
“It is our target to create about 10,000 jobs to promising Nigerians in the next coming months as a way of complementing government’s efforts in tackling youths’ restiveness, boost Internally Generated Revenue, (IGR), as well as promoting our Corporate Social Responsibilities in the society.”
She also emphasized that if Nigeria must come out of the wilderness of poverty, unemployment, and insecurity among other social vices, the Federal Government must deploy its machinery to support local manufacturers in their bids to survive and grow.