The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Musa Mohammed Sada, has said the federal government has reaffirmed her desire to make the minerals and metal sector the bedrock of the nation’s economy in the next few years.
The minister stated this in a statement signed by the deputy director, press, Marshal Gundu, and made available to LEADERSHIP after his meeting with officials of African Iron and Steel Association which held in Abuja yesterday.
He said: “The present administration is ready to support the development of the minerals and metal sector being one of the transformational agenda of the federal government to diversify the nation’s economy from a mono product to a poly product economy.”
Sada expressed the ministry’s readiness to work with other relevant bodies to develop well articulated plans to move the sector forward, stressing that the minerals and steel sector was a major and critical resource for the industrialisation of the country.
The minister who decried various challenges militating against the survival of the nation’s steel industry, expressed government’s preparedness to tackle such problems so as to move the sector forward.
He added that the ministry was already collaborating with relevant bodies such as the ministries of justice, finance works and transport to tackle technical problems associated with the nation’s steel sector.
He said if well articulated plans were put in place, the current administration would not relent in its effort to revive the sector as it had already directed the resuscitation of one line of the company to produce Iron Ore, the basic raw material for the production of steel.
The Minister disclosed that he had directed the Mining Cadastre Office not to renew the nineteen (19) mining titles issued to the Delta Steel Company, adding that he had ordered that those mining titles be converted to the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) as its captive mines.
He said “For sustainability, I want to assure you that we have not lost sight of the Nineteen (19) mining titles to (DSC), they came back to renew it but I stopped them. I ordered Mining Cadastre Office to convert those titles to NIOMCO as a company.
He explained that the minerals and metal sector could not be funded adequately with budgetary provisions, but with the collaboration of the Ministry of Finance, sought to explore other statutory funding.
Earlier in his address, the leader of the delegation and the Executive Secretary of the African Iron and Steel Association, Alhaji Sanusi Mohammed said the essence of their visit was to brief the Minister about the association and their views on how to grow the nation’s steel sector.
The leader of the delegation who decried the improper approach of privatization of the nation’s steel rolling mills said each of the moribund steel rolling mills was built at $120 million dollar with the production capacity of 210,000 tons of billet per annum while none of the steel rolling mills was sold for more than $10 million dollar.
Alhaji Sanusi commended the initiatives of the Minister at resuscitating the nation’s steel sector which had about eighteen (18) steel rolling mills as well as his determination to revisit the issues of privatized steel industries that are not functioning accordingly.
He also called on the Minister to use his good office to correct anomalies so as to move the sector forward while soliciting for the support of the federal Government in the area of budgetary provisions for the association.
The African Iron and Steel Association (AISA) is an organization that was given birth to by the combined effort of the African Union (then OAU) and the United Nation’s Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to attack the dearth in steel development in Africa.