The long-standing steel complex, built over 40 years ago, has faced mismanagement by successive governments, hindering its full functionality.
Minister Audu revealed that he has collaborated with counterparts in the Ministries of Defence and Works to strategize the revival of the steel plant. In addition to restarting the light steel mill to produce iron rods, the government aims to equip Ajaokuta with capabilities to manufacture military hardware, including helmets, bullets, vests, pads for tanks, rifles, and ammunitions.
The Ajaokuta Steel Mill, a massive project plagued by years of dormancy, is now a focal point for the current administration’s commitment to industrial revitalisation.
Minister Audu estimated the overall revamp cost at two to five billion dollars, with the light steel mill section requiring approximately N35 billion.
President Bola Tinubu reportedly approved local fundraising efforts to revive the light steel mill section, emphasizing an investment of N35 billion. This infusion is anticipated to yield 50,000 tons of iron rods initially, with the potential to increase production capacity to 400,000 tons.
The minister identified a lack of political will as a major impediment to the Ajaokuta Steel Mill’s functionality over the past four decades. He emphasized that President Tinubu’s establishment of a dedicated Steel Ministry signifies a historic step, acknowledging the ministry’s pivotal role in the country’s industrial revolution.
Furthermore, Minister Audu disclosed the termination of the last concession agreement with Global Steel, leading to a financial settlement of approximately $496 million by the Nigerian government. He cited previous challenges, including concessionaires lacking the necessary skills, contributing to the prolonged inactivity of the steel complex.
The government’s renewed commitment to Ajaokuta Steel Mill aligns with broader efforts to bolster industrial capabilities and harness the potential of the steel sector for economic development.