Abuja – The Chairman of Africa Iron Ore, Mr Sanusi Mohammed, on Tuesday urged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to urgently revive the steel industry to boost the economy.
Mohammed made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said the revival of the sector would create job opportunities for Nigerian youths.
He said over the years, Nigeria had not enjoyed any support from the World Bank and other international organisations towards reviving the industry.
“In the 80s, the Babangida administration hired a Canadian consultant to conduct a survey on Nigeria’s iron and steel to confirm their viability.
“After the survey the consultant came up with a conclusion that Nigeria should forget about the Ajaokuta steel company,’’ he said.
Mohammed, who alleged an international gang up against the industry in Nigeria, said it would not move forward if government depended on foreign intervention in the sector.
He said there were documents to prove that the Nigeria steel industries could not function, if it depended on international bodies to succeed.
He said efforts by past administrations to revive the sector had been frustrated by countries and organisations that preferred Nigeria to import steel for its domestic use even when it had the raw materials.
“The foreign consultants engaged to review the sector had continued to give negative recommendations that the Ajaokuta Company is not viable, laying emphasis on privatisation of the sector.
“ The African steel association wrote a letter to the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) to advise on how steel development was being handled in other countries but it ignored our advice.
“We can only advise; we cannot execute because these international conspiracies are using Nigerians to implement their policies.’’
According to him, Nigeria is blessed with different mineral resources for the production of steel.
The chairman said Nigeria should take a clue from India which had four steel industries and with the best steel products in the world.
He said many third world countries had also been able to lift their economies from poverty and starvation, and now compete with the developed countries.
He gave some of the countries as India, South Korea, Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Libya, Turkey, Venezuela, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Mexico.
He said although Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Libya had viable oil reserves, they also succeeded in developing their steel industries. (NAN)