The Minister of Steel Development, Shuaib Abubakar on Thursday said that Nigeria as a nation was spending a sum $8 billion to import steel into the country annually, canvassing that it was in the interest of the nation for multi-billon Ajaokuta steel company to fully become operational

Abubakar stated this during Abuja during an interactive session with the House of Representatives Committee on Steel Development in Abuja on Thursday.

He said that becoming fully operational would cost the federal Government a lot of capital his Ministry was already preparing a 10-year working document for the President for the revival of the Ajaokuta steel company.

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He said that it was in the country’s own interest for Ajaokuta Steel to work so as to boost its economy

He said that the Federal Government paid 500m dollars to terminate the concessional agreement of Ajaokuta, adding that the ministry was working very hard to find a solution to the company steel.

According to him, “It is a problem that has persisted for 45 years. we have gone to China to come and invest in the steel company including setting up a new plant and we have gone to seek financing.

He said that the challenges had changed as new technology had come up there had been innovation and there had been discussion around it but it had not been finalised.

According to him, “Funding is a big challenge to the Ministry of steel development. steel industry will be the bedrock of industrialisation if we have proper funding.

“I am still at a stage where to find a solution to the Ajaokuta steel company.

On the $2 billion being requested to receive the moribund steel company, the minister said it was just a preliminary calculation, adding that the figure might not be up to that.

“, This is an estimate that may not be accurate at the last decimal point. it is just a process that will allow us to arrive at the right destination.

“The president has asked me to find a solution to Ajaokuta, so the figure will change pending the outcome of the technical audit.

“It’s clear to Nigeria that for this to happen we need funding and all the help we can get from the two chambers, this is why we need. I need all your support to make this a reality.”

In his remarks, Rep. Zainab Gimba, the Chairman, House Committee on Steel Development urged the ministry to provide it with all the procurement processes and other responses demanded by the committee

He pointed out that the Ajaokuta Steel Company had remained a nightmare to many, adding that now that the minister had accepted to superintend over it, Nigeria expects more from him.

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