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Operator flays unbriddled iron, steel importation




The huge amount of money spent by Nigerians on importation of finished iron and steel products has triggered concerns from the local manufacturers who recently berated the capital flight of about N2.3 trillion expended yearly.

Indeed, facts from the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) indicated that Nigerian business men imported 61,500 tons of steel pipe (finished goods) in 2014.

The Managing Director of Nigeria Gas and Steel Limited, (NGSL), Hasib Moukarim, said the over 2.3 trillion expenditure on imported iron and steel products have had negative effects on the national economy, resulting in significant expenditure of foreign exchange, and termination of jobs”.

Moukarim therefore urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to enforce the patronage of domestically produced iron and steel products and by-products in line with the Nigeria Content Policy.

He said, this could be largely achieved by incorporating certain terms and conditions in the contract agreements of key infrastructure projects of government funded by the public sector and as well encourage synergy between iron and steel industries, government agencies / parastatals and academia.

He also implored the government to stop waivers and concessions on imported finished goods while he lauded the authority for adding steel pipes to the list of items banned from access to CBN dollars.

The NGSL boss and former Deputy Chairman Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Ikeja branch, made this known in a statement yesterday, said importation of raw material for local steel industry is on the increase due to non readiness of local suppliers such as Ajaokuta Steel to provide the required raw materials.

He however commending Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) for its stakeholders’ workshop with a theme “Iron and Steel Production in Nigeria – A paradigm shift in policy and investment priorities”, which he expected would aid timely intervention in the industry.

He wondered why importers prefer to import finished goods such as steel pipes, hallow sections, and iron rods when there are many manufacturers of such items in the country, engaging thousands of workers and investing huge capitals to run their businesses.

Mouikarim enjoined all stakeholders in the industry to be involved in enlightening the populace on the need to patronize local steel products.

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