The Federal Government yesterday commissioned a N60billion integrated steel mill in Shagamu, Ogun State as part of productive activities thrown up by the sectorial implementation of the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, who commissioned the mill, built by the Standard Metallurgical Company, said Government was committed to repositioning the steel sector to access a substantial share of the global wealth, estimated at $10tn.
He said with the implementation of the right sectorial policies under the NIRP, the number of functioning steel rolling mills in Nigeria had increased to over 21 currently, from less than five a few years ago.
”Before this administration came on board, we had less than five functioning steel rolling mills and no cold rolled steel mill, but today there are more than 15 functioning steel rolling mills producing reinforced bars; about three functioning cold rolled steel mills producing cold rolled flat sheets; and about three producing or about to commence the production of wire coils. This is a visible evidence that our policies are working,” Aganga said.
According to him, steel is at the heart of any country’s economic development and is one of the most important materials widely used for both domestic and industrial purposes throughout the world, hence the priority given to the sector in the NIRP.
He said, “In addition to accelerating the industrial development of a nation, a vibrant steel sector contributes to the growth of the Gross Domestic Product and exploitation of Nigeria’s abundant natural resources.
“A vibrant steel sector also generates economic activities in downstream industries, creates job opportunities and acquisition of technical skills, helps in the transfer of technology and provision of machine parts and tools. This particular project is being executed with 100 per cent locally-sourced raw materials.”
He noted that the establishment of the phase I of SMC’s steel mill and the ground breaking of the phase II of the project would complement the company’s existing investments in the agri-business sub-sector of the country, pointing out that the mill ranked among the largest private sector investments in the steel sector in Nigeria.
Aganga said, “I am assuring existing investors like SMC and prospective ones of Government’s support in the pursuit of self-sufficiency in local steel production. The implementation of game changers in the sector is already opening up a lot of downstream sector activities with the attendant massive job opportunities and economic empowerment for our engineers, technicians, artisans and fabricators alike.
”To date, a number of sectorial policies have been developed under the NIRP. The Sugarcane to Sugar under the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) has attracted over $3 billion in investments.