$8billion Spent Annually To Import Steel Into Nigeria — Minister

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The Minister of Steel Development, Mr Shuaib Abubakar has said that Nigeria an estimated sum of $8 billion was spent to import steel into the country annually.

This is as he emphasized why it is in the interest of Nigeria for the Ajaokuta steel company to become operational with efficiency.

The minister mentioned this during an interactive session with the House of Representatives Committee on Steel Development in Abuja on Thursday.

According to him, the revival of Ajaokuta steel will cost huge funds, but he mentioned a 10 year document for the revival the company has been drafted and is to be presented to president Bola Tinubu.

According to him, the Federal Government paid $500million to terminate the concessional agreement of Ajaokuta, just as he added that the ministry was working very hard to find a solution to Ajaokuta steel.

“It is a problem that has persisted for 45 years. We have gone to China to come and invest in the steel company including setting up a new plant and we have gone to seek financing,” Abubakar said.

He said that the challenges had changed as new technology had come up and there had been innovation and there had been discussion around it, but it had not been finalised.

“Funding is a big challenge to the Ministry of Steel Development. The steel industry will be the bed rock of industrialisation if we have proper funding.

“I am still at a stage where to find a solution to the Ajaokuta steel company,” he said.

On the $2 billion being requested to receive the moribund steel company, the Minister said it was just a preliminary calculation, adding that the figure might not be up to that.

According to him, this is an estimate that may not be accurate at the last decimal point. “it is just a process that will allow us to arrive at the right destination,” he said.

“The president has asked me to find a solution to Ajaokuta, so the figure will change pending the outcome of the technical audit.

“It’s clear to Nigeria that for this to happen we need funding and all the help we can get from the two chambers, this is why we need.I need all your support to make this a reality,” he added.

The Chairman, House Committee on Steel Development, Rep. Zainab Gimba urged the Ministry to provide the Committee with all the procurement process and other responses demanded.

The committee lamented that Ajaokuta had remained a nightmare to many, stressing that Nigerians expect more from the Minister towards reviving the moribund facility.