By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Federal Government, Friday, urged a steel firm, Premium Steel and Mines Limited, based in Warri, Delta State to commence full capacity steel operations towards creating jobs for youths in the mining sector and industrialising the country.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite, stated this while on a visit to the company, where the company’s management was assured of the government’s support and drive to actualize diversification of the economy through the solid minerals sector.
Adegbite made it known in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Ayodeji Adeyemi, who also maintained that it is the government’s resolve to ensure company’s like this are given support to grow and develop the sector by creating jobs and industrialise the economy.
He said: “The mandate of the Ministry is to expand the sector, use it to diversify the economy and create jobs and also to generate revenue for the government. I will encourage you to speed up the process. You are going to employ a lot of people which is a welcome development.’
“For the nation to industrialise, we need to produce flat sheet, which is the ultimate goal of the sector. With flat sheet, we can produce many things like engine blocks, vehicle bodies, and others.”
However, the Minister also called on the company to throw its weight behind the Metallurgical Industry Bill at the Council as it will assist in establishing programmes that would aid the private sector to operate optimally, produce competitive and high-quality products for both local and international market.
“Government is willing to do everything to support the industry. That is why we have proposed a Metallurgical Industrial Bill, which is at the Council for approval. When it is approved it will support the industry.
“It will make it a lot easier for you to operate. We would have been empowered by the law to support you. The support we give will have the backing of the law”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Premium Steel and Mines Limited, Anand Badjatya, disclosed that the management of the company is seriously working hard to ensure the full revival of the company and its operations.
According to Badjatya the company would save the nation over a million tonnes of steel importation and conserve about $600 million in foreign exchange when it operates at full capacity.
He said, “We aim to save the nation about $600 million from import substitution.”
It would be recalled that Premium Steel was formerly called Delta Steel Company before it was privatised was designed to produce 1.2 million tonnes of liquid steel per annum to be cast into 960,000 metric tonnes of billets and rolled 330,000 metric tonnes in its Rolling Mill.
The remaining 630,000 metric tonnes were to feed the three inland Rolling Mills at Jos, Oshogbo, and Katsina, which have 210,000 metric tonnes capacity Rolling Mills each.