President Goodluck Jonathan has granted approval to the Federal Executive Council to initiate fresh funding programmes and also to enact as laws, policy documents for the real sector of the Nigerian economy, to address paucity of funds and policy somersaults militating against the sector’s growth and contribution to GDP.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, disclosed this over the weekend in Ilorin, Kwara State, when he paid a pre-commissioning visit to the Steel Cold Rolling Complex of Kam Industries Limited.
He said that the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan had taken care of most of the concerns in the operating environment, noting that positive results were already being recorded, especially in terms of enhanced capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector.
Aganga said, “We are almost there. We have consulted with you and other stakeholders in the industry. You have all contributed to the new measures and we are working on that already. The NIRP focuses on the enablers. One of the enablers, of course, is to make sure that we have affordable finance to support the industries.
“Mr. President has already directed and set up a committee to look at that. The Bank of Industry is going to be a big player here.”
On the need for consistency in government policies, he announced that one of the solutions which have been approved by the Federal Executive Council was that any sectorial policy now has to be backed by law. “So when those sectorial policies are backed by law, you cannot change them anymore, so for example you know we have the auto policy and it is already in its second reading at the Senate,” he said.
He noted that the steel sector was the backbone of economic and industrial development for any nation, adding that the Federal Government was already executing plans aimed at growing this important sector.
“This sector is a critical sector and to have our own person, a Nigerian leading that sector, should be a pride to all of us. And our job is to make sure that he succeeds by creating an enabling environment for the private sector to actually drive the economy and that is what we have been doing so far but we need to do more,” he said.
He disclosed that today Nigeria was privileged to have a minimum of about $14billion committed to the petrochemical sector and that hopefully by 2017/2018 the country would be self-sufficient and would no longer need to import petroleum products.
“If we compare that to this industry, we have close to at least two million metric tonnes of reserve of iron ore, we are the 12th largest in the world and the 2nd largest in Africa and all these steel you see here today, they come from iron ore. So we have no business importing steel into the country,” he said.
Aganga disclosed that his ministry was already working with the Minister of Mines and Steel Development on a joint memorandum to the Federal Executive Council on policies and measures that would help to develop the steel sector.
“We want to create an industrial zone around Kamwire Industries, so that there will be other industries around this area feeding it and getting things around it. We will make sure that for those industrial zones, you get all you need; you will get electricity, water supply and all the things you’ll need to function and be competitive,” he assured.
Earlier in her welcome address, the company’s Deputy Managing Director, Bolanle Yusuf, disclosed that the production of hot rolled steel coils which is 100 per cent imported into the country was the company’s next phase of backward integration.
“We have done a lot of work on this already. We wish to appeal to you in advance to support our initiatives in this direction to self-sufficiency in steel production. We want to openly and specially acknowledge the support from the Bank of Industry. They have not only supported us financially but they have continually given us advice and encouragement,” she said.
By Edos News