CSOs seek revival of steel sector, laud $14b projected FDI
• Insist industrialised nations frustrating growth of Nigeria’s steel sector
Some civil society organisations (CSOs), yesterday, claimed major industrialised nations do not want Nigeria to achieve its steel sector potential.
The CSOs, who lauded attempts by President Bola Tinubu to revive the sector, described pledges of $14 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the country as commendable.
The organisations disclosed this in a statement signed by National Coordinator, Procurement Observation and Advocacy Initiative, Mohammed Bougei Attah; President, Africa Citizens Development Foundation, Otunba Dele Ajayi-Smith; and Executive Director, Foundation for Civic Education, Human Rights and Development Advancement, Clifford Thomas.
They said Tinubu and Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, are on the right track in an attempt to revive Ajaokuta Steel Company.
The coalition said there was a need to promote personal and collective responsibility towards ensuring growth, development and sustainability of the country’s steel sector.
“Every Nigerian has a lot to benefit from this sector. Apart from the production of iron and steel, other valuable products that will be available in the course of operation of Ajaokuta, will, for instance, include about 110MW of electricity, hydrogen, 35,000 cubic meter of oxygen per hour, nitrogen, argon, coke, oven gas, sulphuric acid, and many more.
“We are aware that major industrialised nations do not want Nigeria to achieve her steel goal, which will also bring numerous multiplier effects on the economy of the country. But the table must turn, this time, in favour of Nigeria and Africa,” the CSOs said.
They noted that developments in the steel sector during the President’s visit to India for the G20 meeting and a high powered delegation, led by the Vice President Kashim Shettima to the Russia-Africa Summit, where Ajaokuta was prioritised, would produce tangible results.
They added: “The President, by a single stroke, has brought great fortune to Nigeria with a $14 billion pledge of FDI to Nigeria. We look forward to his future visits to the UN General Assembly later this month, the United States, and other industrialised nations in coming months, and hope Ajaokuta’s revival continues to take centre stage.
“Our immediate shared fortune is the pledge of $3 billion by Jindal Steel and Power of India. The coalition trustfully hopes that this will bring uplift to the long-term aspiration of the Nigerian civil society movement to see Ajaokuta working again, after abandonment at 95 per cent completion stage since 1994.”
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