By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, yesterday, raised the alarm over the huge sums of money Nigeria was sinking in China to buy steel, saying it portended danger for the country.
The speaker warned that should Nigeria continue to ignore its steel sector and depend on importation, it would end up enriching the Asian country and perhaps, other countries in Europe and America.
To this end, he called on President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to give priority to steel development in Nigeria, saying it was the bedrock of the development of the country.
Dogara, who spoke at the ongoing 2018 Open NASS Week in the National Assembly, Abuja, regretted that the government was more focused on implementing projects that were dependent on steel such as the Mambilla power project and the Second Niger bridge, among others, by importing steel abroad.
He said: “Point to any nation out there that is industrialised that doesn’t have a robust steel and aluminum sector.
“As we move towards the Mambilla Power Projects, we are utilising millions in tonnes of steel, and if we don’t have a robust steel sector, all the money would go to China, for instance, where we will be importing this steel from.
“The second Niger Bridge is there, it’s going to also consume millions of tonnes of steel. If care is not taken, China will also earn all the money. So what are we doing as a government to ensure this doesn’t happen?
“Without the aluminum and steel sector, there cannot be industrialisation in Nigeria. The President of Ghana was speaking recently before an enlightened audience and he spoke of the need for Ghana to have a steel plant and they are starting soon. So if care is not taken, Nigeria, the giant of Africa, will be importing steel from Ghana.”
Dogara also said government was sloganeering about agricultural development in Nigeria but harped on the need for provision of mechanised tools and subsidies to farmers for agricultural revolution to work.
He said: “To be very frank, if we don’t talk of mechanisation and subsidies for farmers, any talk about revolution in agriculture without mechanisation and subsidy is just rendering cheap talk. It will not be competitive and it will not work.