The Nigerian government, for the umpteenth time, has launched the Ministry of Steel Development, has taken substantial strides in revitalising the nation’s steel sector.
Also unveiled was a sweeping insurance coverage initiative for all ongoing steel projects across the country, signaling its dedication to bolstering the industry’s growth.
The Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Audu announced this pivotal development during a critical meeting with key agencies under the ministry. The agencies include the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, National Iron-Ore Mining Company in Itakpe, National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency, Metallurgical Training Institute and the National Metallurgical Development Centre in Jos.
During discussions with the directors-general of these agencies, Audu emphasised that the government’s deliberate introduction of insurance coverage for steel projects is a strategic move aimed at mitigating the inherent risks and uncertainties tied to large-scale developmental endeavors. He further elaborated that this insurance coverage demonstrates the government’s commitment to creating an investment-friendly environment, securing funding and expediting the successful completion of diverse steel-related initiatives across the country.
To ensure the effective implementation of this policy, Audu revealed that the Ministry is set to unveil a comprehensive two-year activation plan. This strategic roadmap is poised to drive the revival of all steel-associated interventions and reflects the government’s resolute determination to achieve substantial progress within the stipulated timeframe.
However, Audu emphasised that the steel sector’s revitalization encompasses more than insurance coverage. He conveyed, “The government has devised a comprehensive overhauling strategy to address the multifaceted challenges hindering the sector’s growth. Key to this strategy is the optimisation of skilled labour and the enhancement of security measures to create a safe and productive working environment”.
Highlighting additional solutions, Audu underscored the importance of rehabilitating the rail infrastructure that connects the Itakpe and Ajaokuta steel complexes. He also emphasised the necessity of establishing a functional rail network for the transportation of raw materials and finished products. According to Audu, these initiatives have the potential to significantly enhance the operational efficiency of these complexes, thereby positively impacting the entire steel value chain.