By Adedapo Adesanya
The nation’s steel industry, when fully developed, could generate not less than 40,000 jobs and would drive economic growth, the federal government has said.
According to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, the steel sector has the capability to propel the economic diversification agenda of the present administration.
Mr Adegbite, who was at a facility tour of Premium Steel and Mines Limited, Warri Delta State, therefore, encouraged the management of the firm to begin full operations to help achieve these goals.
“The mandate of the ministry is to expand the sector, use it to diversify the economy and create jobs and also to generate revenue for the government.
“I will encourage you to speed up the process. You are going to employ a lot of people which is a welcome development,” the Minister said.
Mr Adegbite also said that it was important for the nation’s steel sector to produce flat steel sheet, saying it’s vital for the development of the sector.
“For the nation to industrialise, we need to produce flat sheet, which is the ultimate goal of the sector. With flat sheet we can produce many things like engine blocks, vehicle bodies etc’
Mr Adegbite also rallied the steel producer to support the metallurgical Industry bill, adding that the bill when enacted into law would assist in establishing programmes that would aid the private sector to operate optimally, producing competitive high-quality products for both local and international market.
“Government is willing to do everything to support the industry. That’s why we have proposed a metallurgical industrial Bill, which is at the council for approval. When it is approved it will support the industry.
“It will make it a lot easier for you to operate. We would have been empowered by the law to support you. The support we give will have the backing of the law,” he said.
In his remarks, the GCEO of Premium Steel and Mines Limited, Mr Anant Badjatya, said that the management of the company was working towards fully reviving the company.
He said that the company would save the nation more than a million tons of steel in import and conserve about 600 million dollars in foreign exchange when working at full capacity.
“We aim to save the nation about 600 million dollars from import substitution.”
Premium Steel was formerly called Delta Steel Company before it was privatised, the company was designed to produce 1.2 million tonnes of liquid steel per annum to be cast into 960,000 metric tonnes of billets and rolled 330,000 metric tonnes in its rolling mill.
The remaining 630,000 metric tonnes were to feed the 3 inland rolling mills at Jos, Oshogbo and Katsina which have 210,000 metric tonnes capacity rolling mills each.