The Federal Government has expressed optimism that the Ajaokuta Steel Plant in Kogi can generate 10,000 jobs for Nigerian engineers when it becomes operational.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, made the announcement at a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja on Sunday.
He said that if the Ajaokuta Steel Plant commenced operation, all the other steel rolling mills, in Katsina, Oshogbo and Jos would also commence operations.
The minister said that his main focus when he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari was on the Ajaokuta Steel Plant, to ensure that it bounced back but that his COVID-19 dashed his plans.
“There are 14 minerals that will be used in making steel, moving the minerals from different locations to Ajaokuta Steel Complex will create job opportunities for Nigerians.
“We will give licences to miners to mine and supply the steel company. This is another way of creating massive jobs.
“What will be more gratifying is getting equity partnership for Ajaokuta Steel Plant. It will be better rather than going into debt as the government has no business in business.”
Adegbite said that the success recorded by Segilola, a Canadian mining investor, building a gold refinery in Osun was a big achievement for the Federal Government and the ministry.
“We did our best to protect the company when it had problems with some sectors, the state government and communities. We intervened to ensure the success of the partnership.”
The minister said that he had put measures in place to save N300 million dollars being spent annually on barite importation by Nigeria.