The Federal Government says it has concluded plans to develop and implement a comprehensive Backward Integration Policy for the iron and steel sub-sector of the Nigerian economy.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, who said this at a one-day stakeholders’ forum themed: ‘Transformation of minerals, iron and steel sub-sector for industrial revolution in Nigeria’ in Lagos on Thursday, noted the move was in line with the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan.
The stakeholders’ forum, which was organised by the ministries of Industry, Trade and Investment, and Mines and Steel Development, provided a platform for all players in the iron and steel sub-sector to fashion out workable and sustainable plans of action to leverage the BIP to support the development of critical industries across the country.
Aganga said, “What we have done today is to bring together all the stakeholders in the metal sector, which is critical to industrialisation, to look at how we can develop and attract more investors into the sector through the right policies and strategies.
“We cannot just sit down in Abuja and develop a policy for the sector without the full engagement, input and involvement of key players in the sector.
“When you look at the current situation in the iron and steel sector, Nigeria spends about $3.3bn annually on the importation of steel yet, we have iron ore in the country. Currently, we have some cold rolling mills in the country. We want to implement the Backward Integration Policy in iron ore so that we can become a net exporter of iron ore, just as we have done with cement.”
The minister added that the success achieved with the BIP in the cement industry proved that such could be replicated in at least 15 sectors of the economy.
Aganga added, “That is what we can do as a country to be able to diversify our economy, create more jobs and then move from a poor to a rich economy.
“Just as we have done in the cement, sugar and automotive sectors, our objective is to develop a holistic backward programme that will make Nigeria number one in Africa and top 10 globally over time.”
He said the NIRP had been strategically developed and linked with sectors of the economy where the country currently had competitive and comparative advantage such as mines and steel and agri-business, among others.
Also speaking at the forum, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Musa Sada, said there was the need for increased collaboration between the two ministries in order to utilise the nation’s abundant industrial minerals to boost industrialisation.