The federal government on Tuesday inaugurated the Board of the National Steel Council.
Speaking during the event at the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in Abuja, the minister, Arc Architect Olamilekan Adegbite, said the members were vetted carefully and found worthy to add value to the Council.
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for reconstituting the Council, describing it as a step in the right direction towards enabling the country’s goal of achieving self-sufficiency in steel production.
He also commended the minister of finance, Zainab Usman, for being present at the event, saying it showed the importance the present administration attached to the industry.
He said, “Indeed, the importance of achieving such a feat cannot be overemphasised as the steel industry remains the backbone of modern society. The steel industry serves as a key enabler in the economy by providing the basic raw materials for public infrastructure development projects and key sectors such as housing and real estate development, energy, automotive, defense, and various, small and medium enterprises engaged in downstream engineering and fabrication business.”
He added that the sector has significant forward and backward linkages regarding material flow, employment and income generation for the country.
The minister noted that in line with the National Steel Act, the Council shall consist of a chairman, an executive secretary, four board members, and one representative drawn from the federal ministries of Finance, Power and Steel.
He listed some of the functions of the Council to include: Central planning for the steel industry; research and development for the steel industry, including research and development of the technology and other aspects of iron and steel production and the utilization of the products and by-products of iron and steel plants; Co-ordination of exploration for iron ore, cooking coal, limestone, dolomite, refractory clay and other minerals related to iron and steel production in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Power and Steel, the Nigerian Coal Corporation and the Nigerian Mining Corporation.
The council is also to ensure the training of Nigerians in all aspects of the iron and steel industry and related fields and the deployment of senior Nigerian management staff and trainees to steel plants and other sectors of the industry,
According to the minster, the council will also assist the steel plants in fixing the prices of their finished products and in purchasing raw materials required by them for steel production, among others.
The National Steel Council has former minister of power and steel, Muhammad Murtala Aliyu as Chairman and Ambassador Abdulkarim Musafari as executive secretary.
Other members include Dr. E. Mudiare, Mr Sylvester Osuji, Engr Abdulrahman Sikiru Ottan and a representative of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
The minister expressed confidence in their capacity to deliver on their mandate and assured them of full support.
In her own remarks, the permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade, said the inauguration of the Council was a remarkable milestone for administration, and a strategic move towards revitalising the Steel Sector in Nigeria.
According to her, the reconstituted Council will complement the efforts by the Ministry in ensuring that the development of the industry is in continuous progression, despite the hurdles being experienced.
“It is very significant and heart-warming to witness this inauguration. I say this, because, the functions of this Council are designed to cover areas that will contribute in developing the relevant human capacity and necessary tools that will be needed to build up and sustain the Metallurgical and Steel Sector,” she said.
The permanent secretary noted that its members were drawn from four pertinent federal ministries, from some of the government steel companies, and also from the private sector
“This diversity will help to facilitate the required mix in such councils, the required balance of professionalism, an ecosystem for the share of rich knowledge, and access to vital information and to essential institutions,” she stated.
Chairman of the Council, Muhammad Aliyu, expressed gratitude for the confidence reposed in the members of the council and assured that they will not disappoint.