President Bola Tinubu, on Thursday, at the State House in Abuja, received briefings on prospective investments in Nigeria’s steel sector from the Minister of Steel Development, Shuaibu Audu, and the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru.

This was as he approved the restart of the Light Steel Mill section of Ajaokuta Steel Complex for the production of iron rods which will cost N35bn at the first stage.

The President emphasised that a revitalised steel development industry is both a catalyst for robust economic growth and a doorway to immense opportunities for Nigeria’s massive pool of talented entrepreneurs.

According to a statement signed by Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale,  the Minister of Steel Development informed the President of discussions with the representatives of Jindal Steel Group of India.

This comes five months after Jindal Steel Group indicated interest in investing up to $5bn in a new steel plant in Nigeria on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in New Delhi, India, in September 2023.

Audu said the company is now considering either acquiring existing plants or setting up greenfield plants.

According to the minister, upon the completion of these deals, about $10bn worth of new investments in both new and existing steel plants in Nigeria will be established, which will create over 500,000 direct and indirect jobs in the steel industry.

In response, Tinubu said, “We will remain unyielding in our determination to build a Nigeria where every citizen has an equal opportunity to prosper and achieve their dreams.

“New investments in steel production will spur the growth of so many sectors. Industrialisation will be a reality in our country with sufficient energy and steel. Nigerian steel will undergird our economy and other economies in our region in future years.

“I am glad that members of my cabinet have adopted my approach to attracting new investments and job opportunities for our people. Hard work is the only true pathway. We will not relent.”

The ministers informed the President of their discussions with another entity, a Chinese company, Luan Steel Holding Group, to build a new steel plant in Nigeria, as well as to commence the production of military hardware in the Ajaokuta Steel Plant.

A delegation led by the Minister of Defence and the Minister of Steel Development visited the Hefei and Guangzhou regions of China to hold business talks with the Chairman of Luan Steel Holding Group, Mr Wang Jianbing; the Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Mr Xiao Weizhan, and other senior executives of the Luan Steel Holding Group.

According to Ngelale, the Chinese company is expected to invest billions of dollars in Nigeria to build the new steel plant.

The Minister of Steel Development briefed the President, following his approval to restart the Light Steel Mill section of Ajaokuta Steel Complex for the production of iron rods, on the progress made on restarting the section.

He said several financial institutions had already provided offer letters for this transaction and that the project is expected to create up to 5,000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians.

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