FG to launch three years roadmap to revive Ajaokuta steel plant, says $2 -$5bn required

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Ajaokuta steel plant

The Federal Government says it will soon launch a three-year roadmap to resuscitate the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Plant in Kogi State.

The Minister of Steel Development, Shuaibu Audu, who disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja on Friday, also stated that the government requires between $2 billion and $5 billion to revive the Ajaokuta Steel Company.

“We want to launch the three-year roadmap in the next three months,” the minister said.

According to him, the roadmap is part of the efforts by President Bola Tinubu’s administration to revamp the steel industry and shore up the process of industrialisation in Nigeria.

He said part of the plan is to concede the company to people who have the core competence to get the job done.

The minister said critical stakeholders would be consulted to ensure that the awardees possess the requisite competency.

“We are looking at where different aspects can be handled by different people with different core competencies,” he said.

Audu also said the roadmap would involve piecemeal reviving of the 44 different production units of the steel company through its concession to investors.

He noted that the Light Steel Mill section would be revived for the production of iron rods.

“What we plan to do is to start the Light Steel Mill or the LSM section, which will cost us about N35 billion to be able to produce 50,000 metric pounds of iron rods.

“Discussions are ongoing with the ministers in charge of Defence and Interior in collaboration with Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria to revive its engineering workshop to produce military hardware for the military,” the minister said.

Audu further said the ministry is also negotiating with foreign investors for the establishment of a new steel plant, noting that steel is in great demand in Nigeria.

The minister said an Indian company; Jindal Steel, had made a commitment to President Tinubu in September 2023 on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Delhi, India, to invest $5 million in establishing a steel plant in Nigeria.

He added that talks are also ongoing with a Chinese company, Luan Steel Holding, in the same regard.

According to Audu, the revamping of the Ajaokuta Steel Company and investment by the foreign companies are projected to bring in over $10 billion into Nigeria’s economy as well as create 500,000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians.

He also said 90 percent of steel in the country is being imported, adding that Tinubu’s administration is determined to reverse the trend, which could be achieved with the passing of the Nigerian Metallurgical Industrial Bill as well as the National Steel Council Act.

The minister said the administration would provide an enabling environment for local steel industries to grow.