Olamilekan Adegbite, minister of mines and steel development, says Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited will function to capacity before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Adegbite stated this at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) forum in Abuja on Tuesday.
Last year, the federal government budgeted N4 billion for Ajaokuta Steel Company. The plant, which Buhari promised to revitalize, had gulped about $5.1 billion from previous governments.
The minister said the federal government had made efforts to ensure that the Russian company that built the steel industry comes to Nigeria to conduct a technical audit but COVID-19 pandemic distorted the plan in 2020.
He said that the steel company was conceived to produce liquid steel, adding that the national iron ore mining company (NIOMCO) was set up at Itakpe in Kogi to feed it with iron ore.
He explained that liquid steel could be used for building aeroplanes and car engine parts, among others.
“Ajaokuta Steel Company has not been able to produce liquid steel since it was built – the little hurdles we need to address,” he said.
The steel company has worked in the past whereby billets were imported to produce reinforcement, but that was not what Ajaokuta steel was built for.”
He also said that the ministry had recently trained some youths in the metal sub-sector on national development to ensure human capital development, emphasising vibrant metals operators.