Princewill Demian, with agency reports
29 March 2018, Sweetcrude, Abuja – One of Nigeria’s foremost Industrialists and the Executive Chairman/CEO of BUA Group, Mr. Abdulsamad Rabiu, has posited that if the Nigerian government could tow the same line it went with the sugar and cement industries on steel, the country could save up to 3 billion US Dollars annually in foreign exchange on steel.
Rabiu stated this at the Plenary of the Africa CEO Forum held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
Noting that Africa had the highest unemployment rate in the world despite having large populations and robust economies, Rabiu called for a government-private sector partnership aimed at developing and transforming the continent through the provision of more jobs and scaling up of human capital.
The BUA boss noted that Nigeria had all the basic ingredients for the steel industry to thrive, such as limestone, coal and gas, adding that all it needed to do was invest the money it spent on steel importation towards producing its own steel.
According to him, “Africa probably has the highest rate of unemployment in the world, so we need to do a lot more to create jobs; build human capital to develop the continent.
“I think there is need to have a concrete and solid partnership between Africa government and the private sector and in so doing we can be able to transform the continent.
“Nigeria now has the capacity for over 40 million tonnes of cement and we are saving the country over USD$4 billion and we are creating hundred thousands of jobs.”
Rabiu added that, “Nigeria is the biggest market in Africa, we have the population but it is not only Nigeria, all over Africa we have what it takes. Nigeria has everything to produce what we need; still, Nigeria has Limestone, coal and gas yet we import 3 billion worth of steel yearly.”
He noted that the Governments of Africa and the private sector must come together to develop the continent and there are many ways to do that. More needs to be done between the government and the private sector.
He explained that, “Nigeria is importing 3 billion worth of steel; Nigeria can decide to make those who invest in steel have the Backward Integration Programme.
“So if you invest 3 billion dollars in Nigeria in steel making, you would be able to save Nigeria 3 billion dollars every year. So for me the market is big and we need to come together, government and private sector to see how we can develop our continent.”