The Federal Government has made known its plan to stop the importation of steel products into the county to encourage local investors in the sector.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, said this on Thursday, during a familiarisation visit to Kam Industries Limited, a privately owned steel manufacturing industry in Ilorin, Kwara State. He added that the government would stop the importation of steel materials into the country once it attained self-sufficiency in steel production.
“My ultimate aim is that we ban steel importation into the country totally, but before we do that, we must be able to satisfy local consumption from local production and have some excess for export, that is where we are heading,” the minister said.
Adegbite said that though the ministry was responsible for steel production and development in the country, it is not in control of the quality of steel that came into the country.
This, he said, was the responsibility of Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), adding that the ministry is working with the organisation to ensure that steel that come into the country is controlled and meet the right standard.
The Minister stressed the need for local investors to invest in the country’s steel sector rather than foreigners, to avoid capital flight. He encouraged local investors to invest more in the mines and metal sector as he believed that while foreign investors look at how to maximize profits, local investors invest in the people”
He commended the Group Managing Director (GMD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kam industries, Alhaji Kamorudeen Yusuf for establishing his factory in Nigeria where he could positively affect the lives of the citizenry and contribute to the development of minerals and metal sector.
“We welcome local industrialization and local entrepreneurs and we want to encourage them. This is an example of what Nigeria should do, 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” he added.
Adegbite, however re-emphasised that with the support of the Buhari led administration, Ajaokuta Steel Company would work and would produce steel before the end of the present administration.
The GMD and CEO of Kam Industries, in his speech, said as government continues to strive towards diversification of the economy, ”there is need for government to pay more attention to the iron and steel sector for diverse economic benefits”
He commended the Federal Government’s closure of the country`s land boarders, saying,” this will make us look inward and realise ourselves as a nation, the closure of the country`s land boarders should be replicated at our sea boarders, the seaports are still porous and Nigeria markets is flooded with substandard steel products such as roofing sheets”.
Yusuf called on the government to put in place policies that would ensure that those with hug fixed deposit in banks were taxed as he believed that some rich men make a lot of money by having their monies in the bank by way of interest. He opined that if such men were taxed for keeping their monies in bank, they would be forced to probably invest in business and thereby help the economy and the nation.
Earlier, during the Minister’s courtesy visit to the Kwara State Government House, the Deputy Governor, Mr. Kayode Alabi, who received the minister, appealed to the Federal Government to help identify mineral resources in the state and to ensure it exploration for national development.
He noted that while the state had a lot of unidentified mineral resources, those identified were being mined illegally, he called on Federal Government to address the situation.
“We have a lot of mineral deposits in the state and we will want you to follow up to ensure exploration,”Alabi said.
KAM Industries Limited is an indigenous manufacturing company that used to be the biggest buyer of coil from Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited. KAM specialises in the production of cold roll, steel coil, nails, binding wires and galvanizing and color roofing sheets.
The Company was registered in 1996 and also manufactures British Reinforcement Concrete (BRC) Mesh wire, binding wire, bale tiles, drawn wire, and straightening wires among others.