19 April 2013, Lagos – President Goodluck Jonathan, Thursday, said the Federal Government has worked out an industrial blue-print that will see to the complete development of the nation’s iron and steel industry.
This, he said will serve as a catalyst for the industrial development of the country.
Jonathan, who spoke at the commissioning the 700,000 tonnes 5-Stand Tandem Cold Rolled Steel Plant, built by Wempco Steel Mill Limited at Ibafon, Ogun State, said the country would be producing about 12 million tonnes of liquid steel by 2020.
According to him, steel was one of the most important materials used widely for both domestic and industrial purposes throughout the world, and that was why the government planned to develop the complete ecosystem of this sub-sector.
He disclosed that his “administration has approved the Minerals and Metals Development Road Map, which was recently presented to the public stipulating time-bound targets for the sector,” and pointed out that the strategies to be adopted would see to the accomplishment of the set objectives of increasing steel production of three million tonnes of liquid steel by the end of this year and progressively increase to 12 million tonnes by 2020.
He described the new steel plant as the single largest private sector investment in the steel sector, and a another milestone in “our determination to reposition our steel sector to play a pivotal role in our match towards industrialisation and national transformation.”
He commended the management of WEMPCO for its efforts in building the plant. “By constructing this 700,000 metric tonnes per annum cold rolled steel here to compliment your existing investments in the country, Wempco has demonstrated strong belief and confidence in our economy. I thank you for keeping faith in our country.
“Steel is at the heart of any national economic development endeavour. As we all know, a vibrant steel sector contributes to GDP growth, facilitates exploitation of natural resources and generates economic activities in downstream industries,” the president said.
He continued: “It also promotes job creation, the acquisition of technical skills, transfer of technology and the provision of machine parts and tools. In fact, no nation can industrialise without a vibrant iron and steel sector.
“With increasing globalisation and the growing strategic importance of Nigeria as a key emerging market, we are determined to provide the necessary incentives and support for the growth of the private sector. The steel sector offers immense economic opportunities for our country, which we have not fully exploited.