NASENI denounces IMF, World Bank for failure of steel plant in Ajaokuta

The Executive Vice-President of the National Agency for Science Engineering and Infrastructure (NASENI), Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna, announced that the horrendous performance of the steel sector in Nigeria was caused by the collaboration of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Nigerian politicians who deliberately crippled the Ajaokuta Steel Company, contributing to its failure .

Prof Haruna said this when he appeared as a guest speaker at a retreat for the newly established National Steel Council in Abuja.

Haruna went on to say that the federal government was keen to renew the sector to accelerate the country’s industrialization.

According to Haruna, watchdog consultancies, PACMECON and another company colluded to defraud the country, politicizing the operation locally and undermining internationally.

“These conspiracies and the wrong doses of the IMF/World Bank aimed at aggravating our disease and the collapse of the Soviet Union together; Nigeria’s dream of industrializing and generating huge revenues from the iron and steel sector that is second only to oil and gas has been founded and ended.

“We have not forgotten the criminal action of the Indian company Global Steel Holdings Limited, which transported a number of installed machinery and equipment through seaports in the name of repairs and lease,”

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“Ajaokuta steel, said to be 98 percent complete as early as 1994, had not produced any steel to date, and the federal government had spent more than $10 billion in 34 years and needed another $2 billion. have to complete the remaining two percent of the plant”.

He regretted that the first phase of the steel plant, which has the capacity to directly employ 10,000 technical workers and indirectly 500,000 for unskilled upstream and downstream employment, is not yet fully operational, while its contemporaries in other parts of the world perform optimally and take over the global steel market.

“South Korea, which started the steel construction with Ajaokuta steel around the same time, now has a turnover of more than N60 billion dollars per year and employs more than 65,000 employees.”

“Ajaokuta steel would have done better if it had started production. According to the World Steel Association (WSA) report, South Africa and Egypt produced 6.1 and 5.0 million tons of steel in 2016, while South Africa ranks 22nd in the list of steel production countries and Egypt 27th.” .

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“China, the world’s largest steel producer, topped the list with production of 808.4 million tons, representing about 50 percent of global steel production for 2016, while Japan and India produced 104.8 and 95.6 million tons of crude steel. produced to maintain the second and third positions. on the list.

“Almost all countries that play a major role worldwide have improved steel production capacities.
Even those who do not have any of the major mineral inputs needed for steelmaking have developed the ability to produce steel over the years.

“For example, Japan and South Korea have no mineral resources for iron and steel, but are among the top 10 countries in the world in terms of steel production.

“Blessed with raw materials such as iron ore, coal, natural gas and limestone necessary for steel production, Nigeria is still struggling with what to do with the dormant factory”

The composition of the Council will give authority and direction to the sector, which has been lacking since the entry into force of the Steel Act more than 40 years ago. He also assured that the federal government will ensure that this vital sector of the economy becomes mainstream.

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National Steel Council chairman Mohammed Murtala Aliyu told reporters in an interview that the Council will work with NASENI and a number of other institutions to harmonize efforts to resuscitate the sector.

“The Nigerian steel industry is in bad shape because if you look at per capita consumption, Nigeria is below average.”

“Looking at our population, we have noticed that the steel sector is spinning in bits and pieces, and this is the first time since the Steel Act came into force 40 years ago that such efforts would be made, adding that the Council will be do our best to revive the sector”.

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