Headlinenews.news has reported that President Bola Tinubu has given the green light for the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee tasked with overseeing three pivotal steel development projects in Nigeria. This includes the revival of the long-idle Ajaokuta Steel Mill.
Following a meeting at the State House in Abuja, which included the Minister of Defense, Abubakar Badaru, the Minister of Steel Development, Shauibu Audu, revealed the committee’s lineup. Members include Wale Edun (Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy), Doris Uzoka (Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment), Dele Alake (Minister of Solid Minerals Development), Muhammadu Badaru, and Shuaibu Audu.
Audu elucidated on the committee’s objectives, focusing on securing funding for the revitalization of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, facilitating the establishment of a steel plant by China’s Lu’an Steel Holding Group, and identifying a suitable site for Indian firm Jindal Steel to set up a proposed steel plant.
The Minister emphasized the potential impact of these projects, stating that successful execution, particularly the revival of Ajaokuta steel mill, could generate approximately 500,000 jobs under President Tinubu’s administration.
He disclosed that two committee members had engaged with Lu’an Steel Company, a prominent Chinese steel manufacturer committed to establishing a new steel plant in Nigeria. The Chinese company is set to send an advanced team to Nigeria after the Chinese New Year, expected by the end of February 2024.
Regarding the financial aspects, Audu revealed that reviving the entire Ajaokuta Steel plant would cost Nigeria between $2 to $5 million, while restarting the light steel section would cost approximately N35 billion. President Tinubu approved local fundraising efforts to restart the light steel mill, contributing to the production of iron rods for road construction.
Audu also outlined Jindal Steel’s commitment to investing $5 billion and its ongoing collaboration with the Nigerian government to identify an ideal location for operations, possibly setting up a greenfield or acquiring an existing plant like the Delta steel plant.
The Minister added a significant development, stating that the Chinese team had agreed to assist Nigeria in building military hardware capabilities within one of the production units of the Ajaokuta steel plant. In light of the recent disconnection of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited from the national grid due to a N33 billion electricity debt, the Minister plans to investigate this matter further.
Despite the challenges faced by Ajaokuta Steel, the Minister emphasized the need for coordinated efforts from various stakeholders to successfully revive the plant, creating jobs and contributing to economic growth.