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Viable steel industry, a panacea for auto industry growth — Experts



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THE revival of Nigeria’s steel industries, according to experts, would aid the growth of the country’s new automobile industry as well as the transformation of the epileptic Nigerian Railway Corporation.
Speaking on the importance of a viable steel industry to the development of the other critical sectors, Adewale Okesola, Deputy-General Secretary of the Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ISSSAN), said: “If the government can be sincere and focused; if they can pump money such that the steel industry will pick up, we will forget some of our current plagues.”
The union’s secretary stated that lack of commitment, corruption and politicization of the steel sector, were responsible for its ruin. He added that the problems had also hindered all efforts to transform the industry.
Stakeholders in the steel sector agree that no country can advance without the steel sector, since it is the primary ingredient for any commercial and business activities to take place. They want government to pay particular attention to the development of the sector if Nigeria is to become one of the 20 leading economies in the world by 2020 and beyond.
According to the Managing Director, Land Craft Industries Limited, Mr. Prakash Gupta, Nigeria’s steel industry is still in its embryonic stage and needed to be developed because steel is the greatest infrastructure needed by any company to grow. He said capacity utilisation in the sector is currently at between 10 to 15 per cent, hence the urgent need to develop it, if the nation is to achieve meaningful growth.
Gupta, who lamented the high tariff and erratic power supply in the country, noted that Nigeria’s need for power is almost 20,000 megawatt, as against the present 4,000 megawatts; representing just 20 per cent of what is needed. Gupta said: “electricity is utilized by the steel industry and the cost of electricity here is so high compared to other countries, but if the government can guarantee stable electricity supply then the industry will survive. Power is the biggest issue for the industrial sector.”

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