The minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed has said a new $1.5 billion steel plant in Kaduna State has raised the hope of car manufacturing in Nigeria.
The steel plant plans to commence 100 per cent local production of steel in Nigeria.
The minister made this known when she visited the steel plant, which is at an advanced stage of completion at the weekend.
Built by the African Resources and Mines limited, a subsidiary of African Industries Group (AIG), the plant is billed to commence the first phase of its production, which is the mining of iron ore, in a matter of months.
Ahmed noted that if the plant could produce one million tonnes of steel annually as she was told, it means it was on its way to ending Nigeria’s dependence on imported steel materials and attracting more investors into the country.
“From what I am told and have seen, this will be the first company that is producing made in Nigeria high-quality steel that will be used by our industries and it will help us conserve our foreign exchange and in fast-tracking our journey towards industrialisation,” the minister said.
“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,” she added. Delivering his address earlier, the
group managing director of AIG, Alok Gupta, noted that the plant when completed, could produce over one million metric tonnes of steel per annum.
He said, so far, his company had invested $1.5 billion on the project. “We are proud to be part of the looming steel revolution in Nigeria. Having invested over $1.5 billion, we are hopeful that the expected steel revolution will have multiplier effects on the Nigerian economy”.
“On a national scale, the steel produced can be used by industries where more specialised steel is required, especially the auto industry”.
“Ultimately, this will result in the
further development of industries, a reduction in importation of raw materials and conservation of foreign exchange,” he said.
Adding that, “Our work here will revolutionise the steel industry in Nigeria. We will be mining iron ore to produce DRI which will, in turn, allow African Industries to manufacture higher-grade steel more efficiently”.
“This investment will elevate the profile of Nigerian Steel Industry at the global platform. In the long term, it will dramatically increase domestic steel production”.
“We believe Nigeria has a brighter future in the steel industry. With its vast potential, this nation will soon be a steel hub”.
“Within the immediate location,
there will be significant economic and industrial development in this area by means of creation of several allied industries and social infrastructure”. “The surplus power we generate will further assist in developing other industries and residences and it will help in the urbanisation of the local area”.
“On a social level, we have been at the forefront of supporting many laudable projects. Our group donated N1.35 billion to the federal government to combat the ravaging effects of COVID 19.
Also, recently, we donated the sum of N20 million to our host, Kaduna State government under the able leadership of Mallam Nasir el-Rufai for the forthcoming Kaduna Marathon, to mention but a few”.
BY ABAH ADAH,