Economy

Address challenges militating against growth of steel industry, MAN urges FG

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The Basic Metal, Iron, Steel and Fabricated Metal Products Sectoral Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has urged Federal Government to address challenges impeding development of the industry.

Mr Oluyinka Kufile, the immediate past Chairman of the Group, gave the advice on Tuesday at its 2019 Annual General Meeting in Lagos.

Theme of the programme was: “Reviving The Ajaokuta Steel Complex and Aluminum Smelters Company of Nigeria (ALSCON): Priority for Developing the Mental Industry in Nigeria.”

Kufile said that dearth of raw materials and policy misalignment were some of the factors which had pushed the mines, steel and aluminum industry in Nigeria into comatose.

He also listed lack of legal and regulatory framework, poor infrastructure, policy inconsistency and lack of skilled manpower as other challenges hindering the growth of the industry.

Kufile stressed the need for the Federal Government to revive the Ajaokuta Steel Complex and Aluminum Smelters Compy of Nigeria (ALSCON) to jump start development of the steel industry.

Commending the efforts of government in the areas of providing enablers and other measures at boosting industrial growth and development, Kufile urged government to formulate policies aimed at revamping the steel industry.

“Part of the measures that touches the industry greatly is the ban placed on the export of scrap metals from Nigeria, which incidentally is a major raw material for the steel industry.

“This singular action is an important value-addition that has been highly beneficial to the industry in all fronts.

“But, this has been misplaced in the policy equation to the detriment of the industry’s stakeholders.

“In the mid 1970s, Nigeria Government embarked on the journey of building a strong iron and steel industry with the quest to fast-track industrialisation by establishing the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, Aladja Steel Complex, Itakpe, Iron Ore Mining sites and other rolling Mills.

“Unfortunately, the set objectives of establishing these core industries are yet to be achieved as the facilities operated haphazardly for only a few years, and had since been abandoned,” he said.

Also, Mr Ime Ekrikpo, Director, Steel and Non-ferrous Metal, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, assured the manufacturers of the government’s commitment toward reviving the mines and steel industry in Nigeria.

Ekrikpo, a guest speaker at the programme, said that various challenges were militating against efforts to revive the Ajaokuta Steel complex, while analysing several attempts made by the government in that direction.

According to him, the strategic long-term goal of Nigeria is to explore and exploit the solid mineral potential and add value to them.

“Government is committed to supporting genuine investors in the mines and steel industry with virile and sustainable enabling environment through articulated policies, provision of regulatory framework as well as attractive incentives to industry players.

“Presently, the government is collaborating with universities in the country to train more people in the mines and steel profession,” Ekrikpo said.

He, however, urged manufacturers in the steel industry to contribute their quotas toward revival and development of the industry.

In his speech, Mr Kamoru Yusuf, the new Chairman of the Group, pledged the commitment of his administration to make the association to reach its greatness.

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