By Success Nwogu
Nigeria imports of steel will soon hit $15.11bn per annum, the Group Deputy Managing Director, Kam Industries Nigeria Limited, Mr. Bola Awojobi, has said.
A report of the Central Bank of Nigeria shows that Nigeria currently imports steel, aluminum products and associated derivatives of approximately 25 metric tonnes per annum from advanced countries estimated at $4.5bn, according to Awojobi.
He stated that the trend was worrisome, adding that there was an urgent need to reverse the situation.
Awojobi said it required the support of the Federal Government for steel manufacturers in Nigeria to reverse the trend and conserve foreign exchange.
He spoke during a working tour of delegates from the National Defence College, Abuja to Kam Industries in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
Stating that the steel subsector was strategic to national industrial growth, Awojobi urged the government to accord special consideration to indigenous players in the industry.
He said, “The Federal Government should ensure that the Nigerian Iron Ore Mining Company at Atakpe, the major source of iron ore in Nigeria remains in the hands of Nigerians. For strategic reasons, China, Japan, India, Australia and the United States use their indigenes to develop their steel industry. Nigeria should emulate these countries.”
The Vice-Chairman, KAM Industries, Alhaja Bola Yusuph, said the new project of the company’s steel melt shop and rolling mills at Jimba Oja, would, on completion, produce 200,000 metric tonnes per annum of high grade 5.5mm steel wire rods in coils, ASTM 615 and BS 449 rebars of 12mm – 32mm diameters from 100 per cent local raw materials, using modern technology.
She stated that lack of infrastructure, insufficient access to credit, reduced purchasing power, lack of skilled labour, policy somersault, inflation, high interest rates and declining value of naira were major challenges of the steel industry.
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