Nigeria is poised to be an exporter of steel in the next five years, if the industry be paid much attention as accorded the cement industry.
Chairman and CEO of Eta-Zuma Group (West Africa) Limited, Innocent Ezuma, explained that his company, Jos Steel Rolling Mill, now Zuma Steel, was in a position to produce 420,000 metric tonnes of steel per annum in the first phase, and 720,000 in the second, if it is granted a five-year duty waiver and a grant from the national steel development fund.
He made this statement when the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mohammed Sada, paid a working visit to the headquarters of Eta-Zuma Group in Abuja.
According to him, about $300 million would be required to revive the sub-sector of the steel sector in order to enable it meet the steel needs of the country and possibly export just as Dangote Cement.
Ezuma said: “Just as it happened in the cement industry where government policies empowered Dangote that converted Nigeria from a net importer of cement to an exporter now, from a net importer of steel, Nigeria can become a net exporter in the next five to 10 years.”
He added that the $300 million however excludes the cost required by his company to construct the 60-kilometre double guage rail from Otukpo in Benue State to Ankpa in Kogi State where the company has a mine.
To this end, he urged the minister to grant Zuma Group access to the steel development fund in addition to the duty waiver.