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FG in talks with Chinese firm to revive steel industry

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By Bisi LAWAL

 

The Federal Government has commenced discussions with a Chinese firm, Luan Steel Holding Group, to build a new steel plant in Nigeria and commence the construction of military hardware at the Ajaokuta Steel Plant.

The plan is coming as part of the FG’s efforts to industrialise Nigeria through the steel industry.

This formed the crux of the visit by a delegation of the Minister of Steel Development, Shuaibu Audu; the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Steel Development, Mary Ogbe, during a tour of Luan Steel Holding Group in Hefei and Guangzhou Regions of China.

The Mines ministry recently requested N35bn funding from financial institutions to revive the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company.

It said the collaboration with financial institutions was to seek the best financing options to re-start the light Steel Mill in Ajaokuta and kick-start iron rod production.

Audu, in a statement signed by the ministry’s Head of Press and Public Relations, Salamatu Jibaniya, stated that the trip to China was one of the steps being taken to realise the goals of reviving the steel industry in Nigeria in line with the vision of the current administration.

According to him, work has commenced to create an operational steel industry that would attract billions of dollars of foreign direct investments into the country, open up the nation’s economy, and create hundreds of thousands of job opportunities.

He further noted that the plan to construct military hardware in the Ajaokuta steel plant would help in the fight against insecurity and terrorism.

He said, “We had very meaningful discussions with the Chairman of Luan Steel Holding Group, Mr Wang Jianbing, the Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Mr Xiao Weizhan, and other senior Executives of the Luan Steel Holding Group.

“Like several other international and local investors, Luan Steel Holding Group has indicated interest in setting up a new Steel Plant in Nigeria, as well as handling a component of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant for building military hardwares in Nigeria.

“The Minister of Defence and I led this delegation, which includes the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Steel Development, Dr Mary Ogbe, Sole Administrator/Managing Director of Ajaokuta Steel Company, Mr Sumaila Abdul-Akaba, to enable us to have a first-hand look at the Luan steel plants before arriving at a decision.”

The Minister added, “With all the commitments on the ground, we are optimistic that before the end of President Tinubu’s administration, we will commence commercial steel production in some of the government-owned entities in Nigeria.”

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