Steel Boom May Lead to Nigeria’s Industrialisation in Five Years, Says Finance Minister


The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has said Nigeria may join the league of industrialised countries in the next five years with a steady investment in steel sector.

Ahmed said no nation can witness industrialisation without a stable steel industry.

The minister, who made the disclosure during a tour of the steel plant of the African Natural Resources and Mines Limited in Jere in Kaduna State, said if the nation’s steel industry comes on stream, Nigeria would save a lot of foreign exchange because importation of steel will stop.

She also said the ongoing huge investment in steel will attract auto companies which can produce cars in the country for Nigerians.

Ahmed added that Nigeria has a brighter future.

She said: “There is no country in the world that will industrialise without having a stable steel industry. Your partnership with us as a government means that we are on a very sound footing to meet our aspirations of industrialising Nigeria.

“I hope that this happens very quickly within the next five years to put us on the map as one of the industrialised countries of the world.”

“Producing one million metric tons of steel per annum means that Nigeria will really be well on its way of being independent of importing steel into our country and this will attract other investors to come into Nigeria.”

She said the nation’s auto industry will also benefit from the steel revolution in the country.

She said: “One of the main impediments has been the scarcity of high quality steel but with this project, we are now assured that we can attract the auto industries of the world to come into Nigeria and produce cars in Nigeria for Nigerians as well as for the region.

“From what I am told and I could immediately see, this is going to make a huge difference. This will be the first company that is producing steel, made in Nigeria high quality steel, that will be used by our industries and it will help us conserve our foreign exchange and help us fast-track our journey towards industrialization.

“I want to also say that what you are doing will be helping us very significantly in conserving our foreign exchange and the exportation of the steel will help us earn foreign exchange into the country.”

The minister commended the company for being part of the nation’s policy on diversification.

She said the value chain of the steel plant is significant.

She added: “Just from entering here, I can see that the African Natural Resources and Mines Ltd project is actually a major partner for Nigeria’s economic development, as well as its diversification.

“What you are trying to do here proves that urbanisation and industrialisation are two sides of the same coin. Setting the record as the first steel company that will come on scene is very significant and I want to congratulate you for this.

“The design of your program of mining the ore that will be used to produce high grade steel means it is a well-planned and thought out project. The impact of it will go beyond the steel industry; I can see a very significant value chain effect including the support that you have provided for the people of Jere Local Government.

The minister was also excited that the firm assisted Nigeria with N1.35billion to fight COVID-19.

She said: “On the social level, I have seen your contribution to the COVID-19, the people of Nigeria are very appreciative to you and others that have come together to provide significant resources that has helped us to effectively fight COVID-19, Nigeria has been known globally that we have had a very efficient system of responding to the pandemic and the response of the private sector in Nigeria is parallel to anywhere in the world.

“There is no country in the world that will industrialize without having a stable steel industry. Your partnership with us as a government means that we are on a very sound footing to meet our aspirations of industrializing Nigeria. I hope that this happens very quickly within the next five years to put us on the map as one of the industrialized countries of the world.”

The Group Managing Director, African Industries Group, Alok Gupta said the project will revolutionize the steel industry in Nigeria.

He said that the company is capable of producing over one million metric tons of steel in a year.

His words, “Our work here will revolutionise the steel industry in Nigeria. We will be mining iron ore to produce DRI which will in turn allow African Industries to manufacture higher-grade steel more efficiently.

“This investment will elevate the profile of Nigerian Steel Industry at the global platform. In the long term it will dramatically increase domestic steel production.

“We believe Nigeria has a brighter future in the steel industry. With its vast potential, this nation will soon be a steel hub. We are proud to be part of the looming steel revolution in Nigeria. Having invested over $1.5 billion, we are hopeful that the expected steel revolution will have multiplier effects on Nigerian economy.

“On a national scale, the steel produced can be used by industries where more specialized steel is required, especially the auto industry. Ultimately, this will result in further development of industries, a reduction in import of raw materials and conservation of foreign exchange.

“Within the immediate location, there will be significant economic and industrial development in this area by means of creation of several allied industries and social infrastructure. The surplus power we generate will further assist in developing other industries and residences and it will help in urbanisation of the local area.

“On social level, we have been in the forefront of supporting many laudable projects. Our Group donated N1.35 billion to the federal government to combat the ravaging effects of COVID 19. Also, recently we donated the sum of N20m to our host Government, Kaduna State Government under the able leadership of Mallam Nasir el-Rufai for the forthcoming Kaduna Marathon, to mention but a few.

“I wish to assure that in the coming days we will continue to be associated with projects that would impact positively on the lives of the good people of Nigeria.”