Massive job loss looms as foreign infrastructural contractors shun made-in-Nigerian Iron, steel, Aluminum products

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Nigeria Produces 0.11% of Global Steel; Imports 5m Tonnes Annually

$652m needed to reactivate, complete Ajaokuta steel plant –Audit

As Builders, Civil Engineers Advised to Use Made-in-Nigeria Premium Steel Products

The Basic Metal, Iron and Steel and Fabricated Metal Products Sectoral Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), has raised an alarm over possible massive retrenchment of the workers in the steel sector, as non-patronage of local steel products spells doom for the industry.

Nigeria produces 0.11% of global steel (less than two million metric tonnes) but imports 5 million tonnes annually. European history confirms that the industrial revolution was based on the discovery and use of coal, iron and steel.

With only about 35 or less of the steel plants still active, operations in the firms have been at below capacity with utilisation less than 20 per cent and production less than 200,000 tonnes yearly.

The immediate past Chairman of the Group, Chief Oluyinka Kufile, at its yearly general meeting, said construction activities in Nigeria in the last two years lacked local content input in terms of steel and aluminium products, as bulk of such items were being imported into the country.

He alleged that contractors involved in many of the infrastructural projects refused to engage some of its members, which prevented local producers from deriving proportionate benefits from governments and private expenditures, thus resulting in poor capacity utilisation as well as low demand for steel and aluminium products.

He said as manufacturers and investors in the industry, the sector may have no choice if the situation persists, but to consider the option of closure to save their investments from further losses.

Such decisions, he said, have consequences for the retrenchment of workers.“We are hoping that government will quickly address these issues, otherwise, unemployment along with poverty will worsen as the level of hunger, social and economic deprivation and insecurity could be the order of the day,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Director, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel, Ime Ekrikpo, said plans are underway by the present administration to take up the per capita consumption of steel products from below 10kg to about a 100kg by 2020.

“We know 2020 is in less than six months from now, but we are hoping that the federal government could still meet the target with Ajaokuta and Delta steel plants,” he said. Kufile said: “We are therefore of the opinion that the manner and persistence of the current challenges of non-patronage and importation of all manners of steel and aluminium products for infrastructure projects and upgrade across the country, could consistently spell doom for the industry.”

Going forward, he recommended the implementation of the executive order 003 and 005 to be strictly monitored by the government, to ensure that both public and private companies in the construction industry effectively comply with local patronage and local content in all their projects where such products and contents are locally available.

He said the way forward for the industry is the will and commitment of the government and the industry players to make the sector a viable one, saying that a bill has been sent to the National Assembly where all stakeholders were enjoined to participate in the process.

The new Chairman of the group, who also doubles as the Group Managing Director, KAM Group, Dr. Kamorudeen Yusuf, said he will continue to engage the federal government to formulate favourable policies to revitalise the steel industry.He said most of the steel companies closing down were due to unfavourable policies, noting that government is yet to protect local manufacturers from unfair competition to inferior steel products.

“Local manufacturers import their raw materials into the country at 15 per cent duty rate, but the smugglers bring in their products at zero or five per cent duty. This is killing the local manufacturers. The government must block all the loopholes in the Customs that allow the smuggled goods to enter the Nigerian market,” he added.

$652m needed to reactivate, complete Ajaokuta steel plant –Audit

Meanwhile An audit conducted by Nigerian and Ukrainian experts showed that a total of $652m is required to reactivate and complete the Ajaokuta steel plant.

According to the information sourced from the company’s website in Abuja on Monday, the audit was conducted in April 2018 by Nigerian engineers, technicians, and other professionals as well as two Ukrainian experts in steel plant,

According to the audit, the controversial plant, which was started in the 1970s, had reached 95.7 per cent completion.

On its portal, the company said that the audit report was presented to a former Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Mr Bawa Bwari, by the Sole Administrator of the company, Mr Sumaila Abdul-Akaba.

It did not state when the report was presented to Bwari. However, Bwari took charge of the ministry (till May 29 when the first tenure of President Buhari ended) following the departure of a former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who had gone to contest the governorship election in Ekiti State in 2018.

The company said, “The technical audit report on Ajaokuta Steel Plant, which ascertained that the plant is 95.7 per cent erection ready has been submitted. Reactivation and completion requirement stands at $652m.

“The internal technical audit, which was conducted on the facilities of the steel plant between February and April 2018 was an updated version of the last technical evaluation done in the year 2010 by M/S Reprom Nigeria Limited.”

Abdul-Akaba was quoted as saying, “The 2018, technical audit of the Ajaokuta steel plant was undertaken fully by Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited engineers, technicians and other professionals.

“This is in line with the policy of the present Federal Government on the utilisation of maximum local content possible in the execution of sundry public works in the country.

“The Ajaokuta steel plant had been under the care of professionals over the years, some of who even partook in the construction and erection. It was therefore an opportunity to know hidden details which no outside contractor could get.

“It also afforded the company the opportunity to assemble raw information on the plants and equipment which can form the basis for future assessments and decisions if need be. This advantage was not there in the previous exercises that were wholly carried out by foreign contractors.”

The sole administrator also explained that some specialists assigned by the president of the Nigerian Society of Engineers as well as two experts in steel plant from Ukraine were involved in the audit, which produced a report presented in four parts. Part two of the report was said to be in 10 volumes.

The House of Representatives had in 2018 resisted the proposal of the government to sell Ajaokuta to private-sector investors. They asked the government to complete the plant rather than sell it to investors. The lawmakers also passed a vote of no confidence on Fayemi and Bwari for failing to appear during its probe hearing on the steel plant.

As Builders, Civil Engineers Advised to Use Made-in-Nigeria Premium Steel Products

Premium Steel and Mines Limited (PSML) has urged local builders and civil engineers to use the company’s world-class steel products that are produced in conformity with the United Kingdom BS 4449:2005 grade for their building and construction projects.

PSML Chief Executive Officer Prasanta Mishra made this plea at the presentation of some finished products of the one million tons per annum rolling mill to a group of businesspersons who visited the Ovwian-Aladja Delta State-based factory, recently.

He urged builders and civil engineers in the country to embrace and use locally manufactured Premium steel bars for their construction works, remarking that the products compare with similar imports from Europe and China.

PSML currently ranks amongst Nigeria’s foremost suppliers of certified steel products to ongoing national projects including railway, refineries, bridges, flyovers, malls, and high-rise buildings, the company’s helmsman affirmed.

He said “Only buildings and structures that constructed with certified quality steel and casting products can withstand the devastating impacts of shocks and quakes.”

Also adding that the demand for quality steel is undoubtedly increasing in Nigeria in the wake of recent building collapses, Mr. Mishra said PSML is ready to meet customers demand for quality steel.

Other SON (Standards Organization of Nigeria) certified products such as reinforcement Premium re-bars that are produced at the factory were also showcased during the excursion.

Mr. Mishra said that the steel products are manufactured at the company’s newly groomed 18-stand rolling mill and tailored to meet the evolving needs of Nigeria’s building and construction industry.

Commissioned a year ago, the PSML state-of-the-art equipment plant was re-built by the Austro-German Consortium to produce competitive market products for the construction industry.

“We are continuously transforming to be a future ready organisation that could meet the growing challenges of modernisation, re-invention and restructuring,” Mr. Mishra added.

Adding that PSML is conscious of the evolving needs of the construction industry, the company’s director said: “We will continue to invest in new technologies, state-of-the-art equipment as well as R&D (research and development) to meet growing demand of the construction industry for quality steel and casting products.”

PSML Head of Sales and Marketing Ujjwal Sinha had in his remarks said: “Our products are accessible in all markets across the country and are competitively priced to cater to all categories of customers, just as we offer the best applications to forestall building collapse and undue threats.”

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