Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who disclosed that talks are on between the Federal Government and a consortium of banks in the country on how to provide intervention fund to revive the ailing steel and mining sector.
The minister made this revelation in Lagos at a breakfast meeting with mining operators organised by Stanbic IBTC Plc.
Fayemi further informed those present at the meeting that the Federal Government will create 2000 jobs annually within the mining sector
The minister pointed out that the Federal Government will not put up Ajaokuta Steel for sale, but will concession it to private investors who will make it viable and profitable.
According to Fayemi: “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.”
“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.
“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).