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Only vibrant steel industry can develop Nigeria’s economy – Bwari

…says Ministry remits N3 bn to federation account

By Ediri Ejoh & Gabriel Ewepu

THE Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Abubakar Bwari, has identified vibrant steel industry as a key driver for Nigeria’s economy.

Bwari, who added that the government was bent on diversification disclosed this while declaring open a 2-day National Steel Summit 2018 with theme, ‘Diversification of the Nigerian economy – the Indispensable Role of the Steel Industry’ that was held in Lagos.

Abubakar Bawa Bwari

He stated that the country had lagged behind in terms of industrialization, which many other countries that were classified as third world countries have now joined the league of industrialised countries of the world.

Bwari said the Summit was targeted at achieving many objectives, including enhancing interaction and devising strategies for the sustainable development of the metals sector; creating a platform for dialogue between government and metals industry stakeholders as well as evolving acceptable time-bound strategies towards fulfilling the goals of developing the metals sector in Nigeria.

He said: “Considering the fact that the consumption rate of steel and other metal products is regarded as a major index of industrialisation, it is obvious that Nigeria is seriously lagging behind, even by the standard of developing nations”, he further explained.

“Indeed, considering the versatility of steel as an industrial material, Nigeria could easily join the comity of steel producing nations if our abundant iron ore resources are effectively harnessed to produce crude steel.”

The Minister said, “We have made great progress in resolving the legal issues surrounding the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, similarly, Aluminum Smelting Company of Nigeria, ALSCON, we have made significant progress in our effort to bring the company back to life with the approval of the National Council on Privatisation that Messrs UC Rusal be restated as core investor.”

He noted that the ministry had so far remitted about N3billion to the federation account, this year, adding that in the last three years, the revenue generated by the ministry had improved drastically.

“When we came in, in 2015, our contribution to the federation account was just merely N700million, in terms of royalties, but today we can proudly say we have gone above N3billion.

“The National Bureau of Statistics says it was the attention that has been given to the steel sector that has kept it growing. Even under recession, we are not there yet but we believe we will get there,” he said.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Abdulkadri Mu’azu, charged participants to be robustly deliberate and frankly lay to bear issues and proffer solutions, capable of enabling the government to make good decisions.

Also, Director General, National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency, NSRMEA, Kaduna, Mr Umar Hassan, said the government has the capacity of developing the iron and steel industry for economic diversification.

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