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Engineers express worry over dormant iron and steel industries

Steel

Steel

Say Ajaokuta Steel Company not ready for privatisation
WORRIED that over N2.3 trillion is expended yearly on the importation of iron and steel products into the country with the subsequent negative effects on the national economy, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has urged accelerated government intervention in the sector.

WORRIED that over N2.3 trillion is expended yearly on the importation of iron and steel products into the country with the subsequent negative effects on the national economy, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has urged accelerated government intervention in the sector.

Also, given the significance of iron and steel as a critical enabler of industrial development, employment creation and foreign income earnings, the Society stressed that it would amount to “gross error and misplacement of priorities for Nigeria to sideline such a vital sector.”

NSE President, Ademola Olorunfemi, noted in Abuja at a stakeholders’ workshop on “Iron and Steel Production in Nigeria: A Paradigm Shift in Policy and Investment Priorities” that the docile status of the Ajaokuta Steel Company is worrisome.

He stated that, “the Ajaokuta Steel Project is more than a conventional integrated iron and steel plant, but a complex metallurgical industry with the potential of stimulating economic activities through the establishment of downstream and ancillary industries.

“The privatisation of government owned steel companies such as the Delta Steel Company, Jos and Oshogbo Rolling Mills has not achieved the expected private sector level of efficiency and performance.”

In a communiqué signed by Olorunfemi, he said the nation’s steel sector, especially the Ajaokuta Steel Complex is not mature for privatisation due to the huge capital investment required and the absence of supporting infrastructure.

Olorunfemi advised that any attempt to privatise Ajaokuta Steel Complex at this stage of its non-completion and non-removal of the factors mitigating growth and development of the sector will not yield the desired results.

He noted that the privatised downstream inland rolling mills, except DANA Steel Limited in Katsina, are not in operation and are currently kept under lock and key.

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