The executive chairman/CEO of BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu, has urged the federal government to replicate its policies in the cement and sugar industries in the steel Industry.
Speaking at the opening plenary of the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on Monday, Rabiu, who recalled that 15 years ago Nigeria was faced with a nightmare when it only produced 4 million tonnes of cement, said government’s reforms and BUA’s involvement in the cement industry had raised the stake to over 40 million metric tonnes thereby saving the country over $4 billion annually.
Rabiu also bemoaned the continuous import of steel when the raw materials are readily available in the country and stated that $3 billion can be saved annually if government replicates the policies in the Cement and Sugar industries in the steel industry.
The foremost industrialist thanked the organisers of the forum and harped on the need for governments in Africa and the private sector to form a synergy that would lead to the development and transformation of the continent.
While noting that collaboration was the bedrock on which more jobs can be created for Africans and human capital developed, Rabiu explained that though automation is efficient and saves time, there was the need to also develop human capacity to man the ultra-modern machines.
According to Rabiu, “Africa is probably has the highest rate of unemployment in the world, so we need to do a lot more to create jobs; build human capital to develop the continent. I think there is need to have a concrete and solid partnership between Africa government and the private sector and in so doing we can be able to transform the continent. Nigeria now has the capacity for over 40 million tonnes of cement and we are saving the country over $4 billion and we are creating hundred thousands of jobs.”
He continued, “Nigeria is the biggest market in Africa, we have the population but it is not only Nigeria, all over Africa we have what it takes.
Nigeria has everything to produce what we need; still Nigeria has Iimestone, coal and gas yet we import 3 billion worth of steel yearly. The government of Africa and the private sector must come together to develop the continent and there are many ways to do that. More needs to be done between the government and the private sector.
“Nigeria is importing three billion worth of steel; Nigeria can decide to make those who invest in steel have the Backward Integration Programme. So if you invest three billion dollars in Nigeria in steel making, you would be able to save Nigeria 3 billion dollars every year. So for me the market is big and we need to come together, government and private sector to see how we can develop our continent.”