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Hope Rises for Auto Industry, as Nigeria Talks with Chinese Firm on Steel Development

The Federal Government has commenced discussions with a Chinese firm, Luan Steel Holding Group, to build a new steel plant in Nigeria.

This form the core of the discussion by a delegation of the Minister of Steel Development,  Shuaibu Audu; the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Steel Development, Mary Ogbe, during a tour of Luan Steel Holding Group in Hefei and Guangzhou Regions of China.

Although the priority is to focus on construction of military hardware at the Ajaokuta Steel Plant, federal insider revealed the development is also aimed at feeding a long-term development of the nation’s auto industry.

Speaking on the development, a top insider of the ministry of steel development, who confided in Motoring World, described the talk with the Chinese firm as part of the Federal Government’s efforts to industrialize Nigeria through the steel industry.

“And a major beneficiary of it,’ he said, “will surely be the stakeholders of the nation’s automobile industry, who plan to go into full fledge Nigerianised vehicle, which will involve vehicle body building.”

The Mines ministry recently requested N35bn funding from financial institutions to revive the Ajaokuta Steel Company.

It said the collaboration with financial institutions was to seek the best financing options to re-start the light Steel Mill in Ajaokuta and kick-start iron rod production.

Audu, in a statement signed by the ministry’s Head of Press and Public Relations, Salamatu Jibaniya, stated that the trip to China was one of the steps being taken to realize the goals of reviving the steel industry in Nigeria in line with the vision of the current administration.

According to him, the ministry is aiming to create an operational steel industry that would attract billions of dollars of foreign direct investments into the country, open up the nation’s economy, and create hundreds of thousands of job opportunities.

He further noted that the plan to construct military hardware in the Ajaokuta steel plant would help in the fight against insecurity and terrorism.

He said, “We had very meaningful discussions 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.

“Like several other international and local investors, Luan Steel Holding Group has indicated interest in setting up a new Steel Plant in Nigeria, as well as handling a component of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant for building military hardwares as well as automobile component manufacturing in Nigeria.

“The Minister of Defence and I led this delegation, which includes the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Steel Development, Dr Mary Ogbe, Sole Administrator/Managing Director of Ajaokuta Steel Company, Mr Sumaila Abdul-Akaba, to enable us to have a first-hand look at the Luan steel plants before arriving at a decision.”

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