Sam Ikeotuonye 15 October 2015, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Stakeholders in the manufacturing sector have lamented the challenges facing the nation’s steel industry, urging the Federal Government to act swiftly to prevent a possible collapse of the industry.
According to them, the government should, among others, extend the local content policy operating in the oil and gas sector to the steel industry by, at least, enforcing the use of made-in-Nigeria iron rods in all government projects.
Director General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, Remi Ogungbefun, and Chief Executive Officer of African Industries Group, Sanjay Kumar, who spoke separately, said government’s efforts to grow the economy would fail so far as the steel industry iwas bedevilled with problems.
According to Ogungbefun: “The situation in the sector is very bad. So many companies have closed down and many more are about to close shop. This is as a result of policies that are not helpful to manufacturers.
“One of the greatest challenges facing the sector today is patronage. If government is ready for industrialisation, it must enact policies directly targeted at encouraging local manufacturing.“
Also commenting, Kumar maintained that the owners of over 30 private steel plants producing various steel products in the country have invested well over N100 billion since inception, pointing out that these investments were facing imminent danger in the face of numerous challenges confronting the industry.
Urging the Federal Government to set up an intervention fund like it did for the agriculture and aviation sectors, he said this was necessary since the steel industry was the highest employer of labour in the country.