Nigeria may soon be produing about 1m metric tones of steel daily, and this may lead to the stoppage of steel import soon, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said.

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Speaking during a tour of steel plant of the African Natural Resources and Mines Limited in Jere in Kaduna State, the minister said there was hope for Nigeria with the stable steel sector as the nation would likely be on the path of industrailisation in the next five years.

She said: “Producing one million metric tons of steel per annum means that Nigeria will really be well on its way to being independent of importing steel into our country and this will attract other investors to the country.  “One of the main impediments has been the scarcity of high-quality steel but with this project, we are now assured that we can attract the auto industries of the world to come into Nigeria and produce cars for Nigerians as well as for the region.

“From what I am told and I can immediately see, this is going to make a huge difference. This will be the first company that is producing steel, made in Nigeria, high quality steel,  that will be used by our industries and it will help us conserve our foreign exchange and help us fast-track our journey towards industrialisation.

“I want to also say that what you are doing will be helping us very significantly in conserving our foreign exchange and the exportation of the steel will help us earn foreign exchange into the country.” The Minister commended the company for being part of the nation’s policy on diversification.

She said the value chain of the steel plant is significant, describing the African Natural Resources and Mines Limited project as a major partner for Nigeria’s economic development, as well as its diversification programme.