Port Harcourt — Poor policy making in the area of nonfunctional steel plants in the country, especially Ajaokuta Steel and other inland steel rolling mills, cost the country a whopping $177billion in 2019, an Economist has said.
Chief Coordinator, Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria, South-South, Mr. Friday Nathaniel Udoh, lamented that Ajaokuta Steel, Delta Steel, Katsina, Oshogbo and Jos Rolling Mills with a combined capacity of producing 2.93million metric tons of steel per year, have been comatose.
Udoh said this in a paper titled, “Water! Water Everywhere: Non-evidenced based policies and the cost of economic woes, self inflicted.
Udoh maintained that the economic crisis in the country was self inflicted, as the above mentioned steel plants and rolling mills, if functional could have earned the country over N54.17trillion per annum.
In what he referred to as resource misapplication, Udoh asserted that the steel industry alone was capable of creating 611,200 employment across its value chains for Nigerians.
He disclosed that at the exchange rate of N305 to $1 in 2019, Nigeria lost over $217trillion in 201, from fuel importation, ailing refineries, aviation sector, insecurity, moribund steel plants, moribund ALSCON, due to poor policy formulation.
“Ajaokuta, Delta Steel and the three inland plants, comprising; Katsina, Oshogbo and Jos Rolling Mills at a combined capacity of 2.93 million metric tons per year currently comatose, put the freezed capacity translating to N54.17trillion ($176.832billion) a lost to GDP and the economy.
“These assets are capable of engaging over 611,200 Nigerians across its upstream, midstream and downstream value chain.
“Three rolling mills at Jos, Oshogbo and Katsina were built to produce 210,000 tons of iron bars, wires and rods per year with foreseeable expansion to 720,000 tons per year and backward integration to incorporate steel making.
“The mills were designed to feed with billets from Delta steel company and Ajaokuta; the Delta steel plant has a capacity to produce 1million metric tons of liquid steel per year, also comprising of 960,000 tons of billet per year, two thirds meant for Inland rolling mills while one third was to be retained for its consumption.”
The Economist particularly disclosed that NIOMCO alone, was capable of creating employments for at least 6,000 Nigerians.
He regretted that there has never been a time in history when the country was in such a bad state, blaming the economic woes on poor policies and the inability of President Muhammadu Buhari, to make changes in his cabinet even when utterly demanding.
“The National Iron Ore and Mining Company Ltd, NIOMCO, was meant to processed 5.46million tons of concentrate and 1.82million tons run-off-mines ore per year, respectively.
“Conservatively at $510.283million in the period under review, with a potential to engage an over 6,000 Nigerians across its value chain, including transportation.”