By ABAH SUNDAY, Abuja
The Nigerian Ministries of Works and Steel Development are collaborating to harness the opportunities in Ajaokuta Steel Plant for the development of road infrastructure in the country.
Minister of Works, Sen. David Umahi and his Steel Development counterpart, Prince Shuibu Audu, disclosed this Tuesday at the end of their inter-ministerial meeting initiated by the former who hosted the latter at the Works Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
This is in keeping with the mandate of turning the economy around in line with the Renewed Hope agenda of the President Tinubu-led administration, a statement signed by Barr. Orji Uchenna Orji, the Chief Press Secretary to the Minister of Works, said.
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According to the statement, after the meeting which dwelt mainly on how Ajaokuta could account for the Production of a at least a percentage of the huge amount of steel materials needed for the construction of concrete road in the country, the far reaching resolutions of the two Ministers underscored the imperative of coordination, cooperation coherence, and complementarity in the execution of Federal Government’s action plans for national development.
Speaking on the outcome of their meeting, the Minister of Works said the Ministry of Steel Development would play a major role in the road infrastructure revolution plan envisioned by Mr President by providing more than 16% of the materials needed for the construction of Nigeria’s roads in concrete pavement. He said that tapping into the opportunities in Steel Industry would not only creat jobs and wealth for Nigeria’s population, but would also create a global market and encourage industrialisation.
“How do we reactive Ajaokuta Steel. We are going into concrete road, in this concrete road, about 16 percent of it is from Steel while 30 percent is cement . We need a lot of money to start but we decided to face it and God has given us an idea: we need about 35 billion dollars to start . If we start waiting for the federal government it might become difficult.
“We did Return On Investment (ROI); the profit we could have made, part of it will go to bank interest. We are looking at commercial bank but the Federal Executive Council has to endorsed it.
The Minister commended the efforts of his guest Minister towards developing the steel sector, noting that steel industry is the bedrock of Nigeria’s industrialisation as it is the backbone for national development and economic boost of any nation, assuring that his ministry would work collaboratively with him in his efforts at harnessing the potentials of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant.
Expressing the hope that with the passion being exhibited by Mr President for job of reviving the nation’s ailing economy, the coast is now clear for development to unfold, adding that one of the hallmarks of Renewed Hope agenda of Mr President is to think outside the box.
“Mr President inherited a large chunk of debt from the past administration, but the beauty of it is that he is not complaining; he knew how the country was before he took the job and how it is now,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Steel Development who described the meeting as robust and incisive said, “We are seriously thinking outside the box to see how we can implement the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr President. What we came to discuss here is how to restart Steel production at Ajaokuta Steel Plant.
“The Hon Minister of Works has made it very clear that the federal government is looking into developing over 30,000 kilometers of road and a large component of that will be from Steel wrought, and percentage of that Steel wrought will be produced in Ajaokuta.
“We came to have a discussion on how to implement the process for producing it in Ajaokuta within the shortest possible time.”
The steel Minister expressed the hope that move would provide jobs, both skilled and unskilled, to the teeming unemployed.