(Report from Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Abuja)-The Federal Government has commissioned a N60bn integrated steel mill in Shagamu, Ogun State, as part of productive activities thrown up by the sectoral implementation of the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, who commissioned the mill, built by the Standard Metallurgical Company, said, Government was committed to repositioning the steel sector to access a substantial share of the global wealth, estimated at $10tn.
He said with the implementation of the right sectoral policies under the NIRP, the number of functioning steel rolling mills in Nigeria had increased to over 21 currently, from less than five a few years ago.
“Before this administration came on board, we had less than five functioning steel rolling mills and no cold rolled steel mill; but today, there are more than 15 functioning steel rolling mills, producing reinforced bars; about three functioning cold rolled steel mills, producing cold rolled flat sheets; and about three producing or about to commence the production of wire coils. This is a visible evidence that our policies are working”, Aganga said.
According to him, steel is at the heart of any country’s economic development, and is one of the most important materials widely used for both domestic and industrial purposes throughout the world, hence the priority given to the sector in the NIRP.
He said, “In addition to accelerating the industrial development of a nation, a vibrant steel sector contributes to the growth of the Gross Domestic Product and exploitation of Nigeria’s abundant natural resources.
“A vibrant steel sector also generates economic activities in downstream industries, creates job opportunities and acquisition of technical skills, helps in the transfer of technology and provision of machine parts and tools. This particular project is being executed with 100 per cent locally-sourced raw materials.”
He noted that the establishment of the phase I of SMC’s steel mill and the ground breaking of the phase II of the project would complement the company’s existing investments in the agri-business sub-sector of the country, pointing out that the mill ranked among the largest private sector investments in the steel sector in Nigeria.
Aganga said, “I am assuring existing investors like SMC and prospective ones of Government’s support in the pursuit of self-sufficiency in local steel production. The implementation of game changers in the sector is already opening up a lot of downstream sector activities with the attendant massive job opportunities and economic empowerment for our engineers, technicians, artisans and fabricators alike.
“To date, a number of sectoral policies have been developed under the NIRP. The Sugarcane to Sugar under the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) has attracted over $3 billion in investments. The National Automobile Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) has attracted over 22 OEMs including Nissan, Hyundai while Peugeot and Volkswagen have re-commenced operations in Nigeria.”
“The National Cotton, Textiles and Garments Policy, which was launched last week has already attracted a number of international, regional and domestic investors. One of such investors is the Vlisco group, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Government to invest across the entire value chain and has since entered into strategic partnerships with a number of domestic investors in the Cotton and Textile phases of the value chain,” he added.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arch. Musa Sada reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to creating the enabling environment for the mines and steel sector to thrive.
“The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development is collaborating with key stakeholders to ensure proper development of the sector. I would urge investors to take full advantage of Nigeria’s enabling environment to explore the abundant natural resources in Nigeria for collective gains”, the Minister said.
The Managing Director of SMC, Dr. Mohammed Saade, commended the Federal Government for supporting the steel sector, noting that the entire project would aid the Transformation Agenda of the current administration, while boosting growth. “SMC Steel Rolling Mill has a multi-phased Integrated Iron and Steel Complex with an estimated annual capacity production of two million tons of long and flat steel finished products, which is being executed in multi-phases over a 10-year implementation programme. The project is being executed with 100 per cent raw materials from Nigeria”, he said.