The Federal Government said it has met with banks to fine tune how to provide intervention fund to revive the ailing steel and mining sector. Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who disclosed this in Lagos at a breakfast meeting with operators organised by Stanbic IBTC Plc said the Federal Government will not sell Ajaokuta Steel but will concession it to private investors.
He stressed that government is committed to creating 2,000 jobs annually as the sector would help absorb such talent over the coming decade, adding that mining can be an important part of the solution sector when the intervention fund kicks off as a way of assisting operators to making the business viable and profitable.”
He further disclosed that the Ministry of Steel has begun to revalidate licences issued in the past years that had not been put to use.
His words: “There have been people with mineral titles without being utilised, so we will revoke such licences when those people are not serious about doing the business and give to those who are committed to investing in the sector.”
Fayemi added: “Our government came into office at a time when many people had abandoned the country’s manufacturing, agricultural and mining sectors. We are doing our utmost best to encourage diversification into these sectors which can employ a lot of people.”
Speaking on the need for an intervention fund , the minister said government “would provide intervention fund in order to develop the sector. Already, I have discussed with the Bankers Committee and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to determine how we can develop the fund. I have advised banks to set up Steel and Mining Desks and it is our hope that this fund will help the private sector to grow solid minerals.”
According to him “Steel is the world’s most important engineering material and it is crucial to any country’s industrialisation objectives.
In Nigeria most steel operations are focused on using imported scrap metal, and hot/cold rolled steel and wire coils to produce finished products such as steel roofing sheets, nails, pipes and reinforced steel bars. Nigeria imports an estimated $3.3 billion of processed steel and associated Derivatives representing 80% of the $4.2 billion total metal products imported per year (25MT/annum).