Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The Federal Government, through the newly created Ministry of Steel Development, has taken significant steps towards rejuvenating the nation’s steel sector by announcing a comprehensive insurance coverage for all ongoing steel projects within the country.
The Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, made this declaration on Tuesday during a crucial meeting with key agencies under the ministry in Abuja.
The projects are Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited; National Iron-Ore Mining Company, Itakpe; National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency; Metalurgical Training Institute and National Metallurgical Development Center, Jos.
During the interface with the Director Generals of Agencies, Audu explained that the deliberate policy of the present administration to introduce insurance coverage for steel projects is a critical step to mitigate the risks and uncertainties inherent in large scale developmental endeavours.
He further opined that by providing the insurance coverage, the government aims to foster an environment that is conducive to attracting investments in the steel sector, securing financing and expediting the successful completion of various steel-related initiatives across the country.
To this end, Audu noted that to ensure a structured successful implementation of this policy, the ministry would outline a comprehensive two-year activation plan, adding: “The strategic plan is designed to catalyze the revival of all steel associated interventions, which underscored a steadfast commitment to achieving tangible progress within a stipulated timeframe.”
Continuing, he affirmed that the journey towards revitalizing the steel sector is beyond insurance coverage, noting that: ”The government has devised a comprehensive overhauling strategy to tackle the multi- faceted challenges impeding the sector’s growth.
“Central to this strategy is the optimization of skilled labour and enhancing security measures to ensure safe and productive working atmosphere.”
While citing other indices for solutions, the minister listed them to include the rehabilitation of the rail infrastructure connecting Itakpe and Ajaokuta Steel Complexes; a functioning rail network for transportation of raw materials and finished products.
This, the minister hinted, has the potential to significantly boost the operational efficiency of these complexes, thereby positively influencing the entire street value chain