The US$1.5billion steel plant that is almost completed in Kaduna State will produce one million metric tonnes of steel annually and would help put an end to the importation of the commodity into Nigeria, according to Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed.
The Honourable Minister, who spoke on Saturday while inspecting the plant, said that the facility would also attract automobile industries to Nigeria when the plant begins operations.
Ahmed disclosed this during an inspection tour of the African Natural Resources and Mines, an African Industries Group company in Kaduna.
She said, “We have deliberately attracted various industries to come to Nigeria. This is because one of the main impediments to industrialisation has been the scarcity of high-quality steel.
“So, by this project, we are now assured that we can attract the auto industries of the world to come into Nigeria and produce cars in Nigeria for Nigerians, as well as for the region.”
Ahmed described the African Natural Resources and Mines Group as major partner for Nigeria’s economic development and diversification.
“There’s no country in the world that will be industrialised without having a stable steel industry. Your partnership with us as government means we are very much on the side to meet the aspiration of industrialising Nigeria,” she said.
“I see a future where Nigeria can earn foreign exchange from steel. We are grateful for your contribution to our COVID-19 efforts. Kaduna State is grateful and we here are also most grateful.
“The capacity of the plant and the employment opportunities that the plant is going to create would be enormous. We appeal that you should also share part of the electricity that you are going to generate with the people of Jere. I want to thank you for inviting us, and I am happy to see the work that has been done,” the Honourable Minister also said.
Alok Gupta, Group Managing Director, African Industry Group, said the firm would be mining iron ore to produce Direct Reduced Iron, which would enable the company to produce a higher-grade steel more efficiently.
He also said, “This investment in the long term will dramatically increase domestic steel production. We are capable of producing over one million metric tonnes in a year.
“We are proud to be part of the looming steel revolution in Nigeria. Having invested over $1.5bn, we are hopeful that the expected steel revolution will have multiplier effects on the Nigerian economy.”
Gupta further stated that the steel company supported the Federal Government in the fight against COVID-19 by donating N1.35billion to help curb the spread of the virus.
Mr. Audu Abdullahi Daniel, Wazirin Jere, in his address, thanked the company for bringing such a big project to his community. He promised to rally his people to support the project and the company, adding that his people have accepted that the company should be there to support and develop the community.
“We shall give our total support for the success of the company,” the Wazirin Jere said, asking his people to be patient with the project because the project is also for the generation yet unborn.