By Emmanuel Mogbede
Ilorin – The Federal Government on Thursday, said it planned to stop the importation of steel materials into the county to encourage local investors in the sector.
Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, said this during a familiarisation visit to Kam Industries Limited, a privately owned steel industry in Ilorin.
Adegbite added that the government would stop the importation of steel materials into the country once it attained self sufficiency in steel production.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that KAM Industries Limited is an indigenous manufacturing company that specialises in the production of cold roll, steel coil, nails, binding wires, galvanising and color roofing sheets.
The company which was registered in 1996, also manufactures British Reinforcement Concrete (BRC) Mesh wire, binding wire, bale tiles, drawn wire, and straightening wires among others.
“My ultimate aim is that we ban steel importation into the country totally.
“But then, 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.
He said it was necessary for local private investors to invest in the country’s steel sector rather than foreigners, to avoid capital flight.
The minister expressed satisfaction over the level of production in the industry, saying that it was something that should be emulated by well meaning Nigerians.
He also expressed optimism that if such a company was replicated in other parts of the country, cases of banditry and other anti-social vices would be reduced.
“It is impressive, I have been to see our own steel plant at Ajaokuta, though it may not be working now, but I have been shown the processes.
“Coming here, I can see a functional one, of course with a similar process; this is very commendable.
“For a private entrepreneur to do this, providing employment for more than 4,000 people, it is very impressive and it is worth my coming here today.
“Our dreams and hopes for the Nigeria steel industry was built on Ajaokuta, and it has become something very emotional to the whole country,” Adegbite said.
He, expressed optimism that with the support of President Muhammadu Buhari, Ajaokuta Steel Company would bounce back and would produce steel before the end of the current administration.
He noted that though the ministry was responsible for steel production and development in the country, it was not in control of the quality of steel that was coming into the country.
He, however, said the ministry was working with the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON),the agency saddled with the responsibility of standard control, to ensure that steel brought into the country met international standards.
NAN reports that the minister earlier paid a visit on Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, of Kwara.
Mr Kayode Alabi, the state Deputy Governor, who received the minister on behalf of , appealed to the Federal Government to help identify mineral resources in the state and to ensure exploration for national development.
Alabi noted that while the state had a lot of unidentified mineral resources, those identified were being mined illegally, adding that there was need for the Federal Government to help address the situation.
“We have a lot of mineral deposits in the state and we will want you to follow up to ensure exploration,” he said.
He said the state was very proud of Kam industries because it gave employment to its people.
NAN further reports that from its humble beginning as a manufacturing company, Kam industries had grown into one of the largest independently owned nail and wire producing company in the country.
During the good days of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, Kam used to be the biggest buyer of its coil.
The company started its backward integration in 2011 when it started the construction of its 150,000 tonnes per annum Cold Rolled Mill (CRM).
The CRM is completed and running and it consists of slitting line, pickling line, cold reduction mill, galvanising line, rewinding, cum trimming line, cut to length, and corrugated machines.
It also has water and waste treatment facilities among others.
The industry had applied to the Mining Cadastral Office (MCO) for the grant of 11 exploration licences in Kogi.
Four of the applications had been granted while the remaining seven were still being processed.
The company had also identified a suitable limestone deposit in Kogi, which would be explored and mined to supply required flux material for liquid steel production.