Nigeria sees hope of ending steel import with launch of $1.5 bln plants
Nigeria is hopeful that with the increased investment in local production of steel, the country may end importation of the products in the next five years and set the tone for attracting automakers into the country.
According to the minister of finance and budget Zainab Ahmed, with the prospect of one million metric tons of steel per day production, Nigeria may end importation of the product by 2025.
Ahmed said this while inspecting the $1.5 billion steel plant of the African Natural Resources and Mines Limited in Jere in Kaduna State.
“One of the main impediments has been the scarcity of high quality steel but with this project, we are now assured that we can attract the auto industries of the world to come into Nigeria and produce cars in Nigeria for Nigerians as well as for the region.
“From what I am told and I could immediately see, this is going to make a huge difference. This will be the first company that is producing steel, made in Nigeria high quality steel, that will be used by our industries and it will help us conserve our foreign exchange and help us fast-track our journey towards industrialization.
“I want to also say that what you are doing will be helping us very significantly in conserving our foreign exchange and the exportation of the steel will help us earn foreign exchange into the country,” Ahmed said.
She is optimistic that with the increase local steel production, the nation’s is ripe for attracting auto industries and earn more foreign exchange in the process.
The minister said that the African Natural Resources and Mines Ltd project is actually a major partner for Nigeria’s economic development, as well as its diversification.
“What you are trying to do here proves that urbanization and industrialization are two sides of the same coin. Setting the record as the first steel company that will come on scene is very significant and I want to congratulate you for this.
“The design of your program of mining the ore that will be used to produce high grade steel means it is a well-planned and thought out project. The impact of it will go beyond the steel industry; I can see a very significant value chain effect including the support that you have provided for the people of Jere Local Government.
The Minister was also commended the firm for supporting the country with N1.35 billion to fight COVID-19.
“On the social level, I have seen your contribution to the COVID-19, the people of Nigeria are very appreciative to you and others that have come together to provide significant resources that has helped us to effectively fight COVID-19, Nigeria has been known globally that we have had a very efficient system of responding to the pandemic and the response of the private sector in Nigeria is parallel to anywhere in the world.
“There is no country in the world that will industrialize without having a stable steel industry. Your partnership with us as a government means that we are on a very sound footing to meet our aspirations of industrializing Nigeria, I hope that this happens very quickly within the next five years to put us on the map as one of the industrialized countries of the world,” Ahmed said.