WE'LL GROW ECONOMY THROUGH NIGERIA'S STEEL SECTOR, SAYS FAYEMI


The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said that for Nigeria to meet its infrastructure needs, it would spend about $3 trillion to grow the economy in the next 30 years.

The minister who disclosed this at a business forum organized by the Royal African Society in London, cited a recent report by the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan, which says Nigeria's current core infrastructure stocks gap was estimated at $80 billion.

Fayemi who was speaking on "Mining for prosperity: Fuelling Nigeria's industrialization in the 21st Century", maintained, the investment in the sector would allow it to close its current infrastructure gap and sustain stock level of 70 per cent of GDP so as to develop the critical sectors of roads, rail, ports, airports, power, water and ICT.

To him, Iron ore and steel would account for the bulk of materials inputs needed to industrialize the country. Investors should take advantage of the country's huge steel market to ignite a surge in building construction, power, automotive, agriculture, military technology, refinery and other heavy-duty machinery.

"We project a steady increase in domestic demand for steel in Nigeria in the next decade. This would be driven by increased drives that will ever-widening the demand for steel both for local and international investors to participate in the expansion of Africa's largest economy."

He said local producers are currently meeting just about 25 per cent of demand in the sub-sector, a development that would provide the required optimism for foreign investors.

"The success recorded in the limestone, where Nigeria moved from being a net-importer of cement to a net-exporter in less than a decade of putting in place the right policy and necessary incentives for local manufacturers.

"We are working with all stakeholders in the industry to encourage replication of the limestone success story in the beneficiation of other industrial minerals, towards powering the industrialization of the country.

"Our aspiration is to build a world class minerals and mining ecosystem designed to serve a targeted domestic and export market for minerals and ores. The country would focus on minerals, mining and related processing industry over a three -phased period to achieve this."

He added that Nigeria would successfully follow through with the implementation plans. ''Growth is expected to return to the sector in the form of new exploration activity, operations and production from active mining, functional (and expanded) processing and refining capacity, and higher value-addition in exports. This phase will last about 5 to 10 years."

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN