Steel firms seek govt patronage

Steel pipes15 Octover 2013, Lagos – An industrialist, Mr. Ajit Amtey, has called on the federal and state governments to patronise local steel manufacturing firms as a way of helping them survive.

Amtey, who is the Executive Director of Phoenix Steel Mills Limited, made the call when a verification team from the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) visited his company’s premises in Lagos. He said such patronage has become necessary given the challenging times facing steel making companies in the country.

He said for now, there is a proliferation in the number of steel manufacturing companies in Nigeria, advising the federal government against registering more steel companies in Nigeria.

He also bemoaned the state of infrastructure in the country, as another big challenge, saying irregular electric supply and bad roads for example have led to high operational costs and by implication falling revenue for most of the steel firms still producing.

According to him, many of the remaining firms are operating on about 14 per cent of installed capacity, saying this does not augur well for a sector that has huge potentials.

Amtey said most operators are contending seriously with the public misconception that quality iron rods are in short supply in the country. “Any country’s progress is measured by its per capita consumption of steel and there is need for the government to address the challenges facing the steel industry”, he said.

Equally important, according to him, is the approval for special reduced rates for input in steel manufacturing.

Also speaking, officials of African Foundries Steel Mills Limited said although their plant is running at about 60 per cent of installed capacity, considered good across industry levels, that there is need for government to help the sector.

It advised the government to among other things, discourage import of steel products, improve infrastructure and security, and also see to the improvement of communication signals in the country.

– This Day

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