The Federal Government has expressed concern over the importation of metal products.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Abdukadir Muazu, who spoke in Jos at a workshop organised for stakeholders in Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa States, said that the situation had led to major drain on the nation’s foreign exchange .
He said, “We import all kinds of metal products, even those produced within the country, because the quality of products made in Nigeria is not comparable with those imported.
“And the quantity of metal products made in Nigeria cannot meet the demand in the country. Imported products are also in higher demand in Nigeria due to the fact that they are cheaper.
“This trend has several negative implications; overwhelming poverty due to folding up of the SMEs and several jobs being lost.
“It is against the backdrop of this and the need to change this narrative that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development organised the workshop.”
Mu’azu, who was represented by the Director of Steel, Mr Kolawale Olasupo, said that the aim of the workshop was to sensitise the SMEs in the metal industry in Nigeria to their importance in the sector and the role the government was expected to play to help them develop their business.
He stressed that the efforts were geared towards making their products “to compete favourably with imported products.”
He added that the ministry had recognised the SMEs as a solution to the challenge of unemployment facing the country, hence the determination of the ministry to promote their activities in the metal sector.
The permanent secretary also pointed out that the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, and the Minister of State, Uchechukwu Ogah, had declared the growth of metal industry a priority and that the ministry was ready to support metal production to promote its local utilisation.