Minister of Mines and Steel, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite, has joined other top Nigerians that have on different occasions visited the headquarters and the factory of a giant in the steel manufacturing industry, Kam Industries Limited.
The minister who was taken on tour of the facilities while speaking with newsmen later said the Federal Government may soon respond to the concerns about the threat posed by importers of steel products to the local steel manufacturers by placing full ban on metal imports.
While this will encourage the local steel manufacturers and the prospective investors in the mines and steel sector, it will also create job opportunities for the Nigerian youths. The minister also used the opportunity to restate the determination of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to stop the importation of substandard steel products into the country. ‘We are working with the Standard Organization of Nigeria, SON, to address the issue.
The ministry is not in control of the quality of steel products that come into the country, we are however, responsible for steel productions. We’ll work with the standard agency to control what comes in. The ultimate aim is to ban steel importation totally. But before we do that, we will ensure we are able to satisfy local consumption from local production and still have excess to export.
That’s where we are heading. We welcome local industrialization and local entrepreneurs. We want to encourage them. I can see depth of backward integration here, from raw materials to the finished products. This is an example of what Nigeria should do. If you do this you can imagine this complex providing over 4,000 employment opportunities. If we have replication of this all over the country, it will reduce the rate of restiveness and banditry that we have in the country’ he said.
Adegbite who recognized and commended the KAM Industries for the roles played in developing the sector asserted that local investors are better than the foreign investors as they will not only engage the local people but will equally not take their profits out of the host communities. In her speech, Vice Chairperson , Kam Industries Ltd , Dr Bolanle Yusuf, said that there is a need for the government to pay more attention to the Iron and Steel sector in order to make it become a national product for diverse economic benefits, such efforts will according to her result in job creation, revenue generation and also improve the lives of the citizens.
She also called for continuous advocacy for diversification of the economy, most importantly; in favour of the Steel sector. The government, she added must also guard against economic saboteurs who have according to her held the local investors to ransom through the smuggling and illegal importation of Galvanized, Aluminum and Corrugated roofing sheets into the country.
‘Despite the recent closure of land borders, Seaports are still porous and at the moment, markets in the country are flooded with substandard roofing sheets, a sad scenario that calls for urgent national debate. Conspiracy and sharp practices among law enforcement agencies and importers are also frustrating the Federal Government’s efforts to control criminality among Nigerians.
The roadmap for the Iron and Steel sector is to ensure it contributes about 10 percent to our national GDP by 2025 and help diversify the nation’s economy. In order to realize this dream, there is a need for Your Excellency to engage the authorities of the Standard Organization of Nigeria, SON and the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, and make them work closely with us in this regard’ she stated.