he Federal Government is partnering with a Chinese company, Luan Steel Holding Group, to construct a new Steel Plant in Nigeria and deploy the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Plant to produce military hardware.
This pivotal development was at the forefront of discussions during a recent visit by a delegation, including the Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, the Minister of Defence, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Steel Development, Dr. Mary A Ogbe in their tour of Luan Steel Holding Group in Hefei and Guangzhou Regions of China.
In a statement signed by the steel development ministry’s Head (Press & Public Relations Dept), Salamatu F. Jibaniya, on Thursday, Prince Audu emphasized that the trip to China marks a crucial step in realizing the goals of reviving Nigeria’s Steel Industry.
FG eyes FDI from steel industry
The steel development minister also noted that the aim is to establish a functional Steel Industry that attracts significant foreign direct investments, stimulates economic growth, and generates hundreds of thousands of job opportunities, aligning with the core principles of the administration’s agenda.
Also, acknowledging the current security challenges facing Nigeria, Prince Audu highlighted the timeliness of incorporating the production of military hardware at the Ajaokuta Steel Plant. This strategic move is expected to contribute to the nation’s efforts in combating insecurity and terrorism.
What the Minister said
Prince Audu said:
- “We had very meaningful discussions with the Chairman of Luan Steel Holding Group, Mr Wang Jianbing, the Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Mr Xiao Weizhan, and other senior Executives of the Luan Steel Holding Group.
“Like several other international and local investors, Luan Steel Holding Group has indicated interest in setting up a new Steel Plant in Nigeria, as well as handling a component of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant for building military hardware in Nigeria.
- “The Minister of Defence and I led this delegation, which includes the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Steel Development, Dr Mary Ogbe, Sole Administrator/Managing Director of Ajaokuta Steel Company, Mr Sumaila Abdul-Akaba, to enable us to have a first-hand look at the Luan steel plants before arriving at a decision.”
He added that with all the commitments on the ground, the Federal Government will commence commercial Steel Production in some of the government-owned entities in Nigeria before the end of the current administration of Bola Tinubu.
This collaborative effort signifies a crucial step toward achieving economic growth, national security enhancement, and the realization of the broader development agenda for Nigeria.
- Despite maintaining a consistent budget, with N4.45 billion for 2024, the Ajaokuta steel company has faced over four decades of operational challenges, alongside the government’s unsuccessful attempts at privatization and concession.
- Regardless of the setbacks and financial implications of past concession attempts, the Federal Government remains undeterred in its commitment to revive the Ajaokuta steel facility.
- The persistent push reflects the government’s determination to find a sustainable solution for the long-standing challenges plaguing the steel sector and signals ongoing efforts to breathe new life into a crucial industrial asset.
- However, some key stakeholders have urged the Federal Government to sell the steel facility instead of attempting to revive and run it.