The Minister of Steel Development, Shuaibu Audu, has stressed the need to resuscitate the Ajaokuta Steel Company.
During a press briefing in Abuja on Monday, Audu affirmed his commitment to restoring the moribund steel plant.
According to him, he will set a roadmap for the development of the steel sector, aggressively pursue the completion of Ajaokuta steel, and enact required bills to regulate the steel sector, among others.
He said, “Our past leaders recognised the importance of steel development but lacked the political will to achieve its objectives.
“The steel development is synonymous with the Ajaokuta Steel plant, whose commencement has been over 40 years ago. We aim to start the engine and ensure that we produce at least a small sheet of steel within this administration.
“It is a known fact that steel is the bedrock of any nation’s development; if gotten right, it may be the beginning of our industrial revolution.”
Media recently reported that the Federal Government allocated over N3bn to cover personnel costs at the Ajaokuta Steel Company each year from 2016 to 2023.
Between 2016 and 2023, a total of N29.35bn has been allocated to cover personnel costs for the Ajaokuta Steel Complex.
Despite the regular budget, the steel company is yet to commence full operations in over 42 years, with the government making failed attempts at privatisation and concession.
Media also reported that the Federal Government paid a total of $446m to clear off a judgment debt on the Ajaokuta Steel Company.
Speaking further at the press briefing, Audu disclosed that the creation of the new ministry underscored President Bola Tinubu’s mandate in pursuing the nation’s overall development.
In his remarks, Minister of Solid Minerals, Dele Alake, charged the staff members to be result-oriented in order to achieve the presidential mandate for the sector.
According to him, the oil-producing industry, which has been a significant source of foreign exchange for the government, has been on a downward trend.
“Knowing that the oil-producing industry is one downward trend, the following fundamental economic growth trend is solid minerals. And this sector has caused so much international trade warfare.
“Given the sector’s importance to the President, he sent me here as someone he knows very well to drive his agenda in this ministry.
“We will not allow civil service restriction to stop us from being innovative; we want results as long as we use legitimate means to get them,” he said.
He added that he had a roadmap, which would be unveiled in the days ahead for the sector.