The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said that with daily production of 1m metric, Nigeria will soon stop importing steel.
Speaking during a tour of steel plant of the African Natural Resources and Mines Limited in Jere in Kaduna State, the minister said there was hope for Nigeria with the stable steel sector as the nation would likely be on the path of industrialisation in the next five years.
She also said the huge investment in steel will attract automobile companies that can produce cars in the country for Nigerians.
She said: “Producing one million metric tons of steel per annum means that Nigeria will really be well on its way to being independent of importing steel into our country and this will attract other investors to the country. “One of the main impediments has been the scarcity of high-quality steel but with this project, we are now assured that we can attract the auto industries of the world to come into Nigeria and produce cars for Nigerians as well as for the region”.
“From what I am told and I can immediately see, this is going to make a huge difference. This will be the first company that is producing steel, made in Nigeria, high-quality steel, that will be used by our industries and it will help us conserve our foreign exchange and help us fast-track our journey towards industrialisation.
“I want to also say that what you are doing will be helping us very significantly in conserving our foreign exchange and the exportation of the steel will help us earn foreign exchange into the country.” The Minister commended the company for being part of the nation’s policy on diversification.
She said the value chain of the steel plant is significant, describing the African Natural Resources and Mines Ltd project as a major partner for Nigeria’s economic development, as well as its diversification programme.
“What you are trying to do here proves that urbanisation and industrialisation are two sides of the same coin. Setting the record as the first steel company that will come on the scene is very significant and I want to congratulate you for this.
She noted that the design of the programme of mining the ore that will be used to produce high-grade steel means it is a well-planned and thought out project, adding that the impact of it will go beyond the steel industry. The minister said she could see a very significant value chain effect including the support it will be providing for the people of Jere Local Government.
Ahmed said she was equally excited that the firm assisted Nigeria with N1.35billion to fight COVID-19. She said: “On the social level, I have seen your contribution to the COVID-19, the people of Nigeria are very appreciative to you and others that have come together to provide significant resources that have helped us to effectively fight COVID-19, Nigeria has been known globally that we have had a very efficient system of responding to the pandemic and the response of the private sector in Nigeria is parallel to anywhere in the world.