By Palma Ileye
Federal Government has today reconstituted the National Steel Council in Abuja to achieve the goal of self-sufficiency in steel production.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, MMSD, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite at the inauguration reiterated the importance of such a feat as he stressed that the steel industry remains the backbone of modern society.
Adegbite explained that “the National Steel Act clearly makes adequate provisions for the establishment of the National Steel council, which would be responsible for the central planning of the iron and steel industry.
“I wish to begin my remarks by thanking President Muhammadu Buhari who has deemed it expedient to reconstitute the National Steel Council. This decision is a step in the right direction, which brings us closer to our goal of achieving self-sufficiency in steel production. Indeed, the importance of achieving such a feat cannot be overemphasized as the steel industry remains the backbone of modern society.”
He maintained that “the steel industry serves as a key enabler in the economy by providing the basic raw materials for public infrastructure development projects and key sectors such as housing and real estate development, energy, automotive, defense, and various, small & medium enterprises engaged in downstream engineering and fabrication business. The sector has significant forward and backward linkages regarding material flow, employment, and income generation.
“Indeed Mr. President is aware of this which is why he has approved the reconstitution of the National Steel Council. The National Steel Act clearly makes adequate provisions for the establishment of the National Steel council, which would be responsible for the central planning of the iron and steel industry. The Council shall consist of a chairman, executive secretary, four board members, and one representative drawn from the following Federal Ministries, which are Industry; Finance; Power, and Steel;
“At this juncture, permit me to enumerate the function of the council which shall include:
Central planning for the steel industry; Research and development for the steel industry, including research and development of the technology and other aspects of iron and steel production and the utilization of the products and by-products of iron and steel plants.
“Co-ordination of exploration for iron ore, cooking coal, limestone, dolomite, refractory clay and other minerals related to iron and steel production in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Power and Steel, the Nigerian Coal Corporation and the Nigerian Mining Corporation; Training of Nigerians in all aspects of the iron and steel industry and related fields and the deployment of senior Nigerian management staff and trainees to steel plants and other sectors of the industry; Research into the development and manufacture of equipment to be used for the purpose of and in relation to basic engineering in the steel industry; The establishment of facilities and the carrying out of tests and operations for ascertaining and improving the qualities and performance of the materials and processes for iron and steel production, including iron and steel products.
“Advising the Federal Government on the establishment in Nigeria by that Government of additional iron and steel plants and generally on the formulation of policies relating to the development of the iron and steel industry and related industries in Nigeria;
“Assisting the steel plants in fixing the prices of their finished products and in purchasing raw materials required by them for steel production and, for this purpose, the collection of information on the supply and demand situation and comparative pricing of iron and steel products, as between Nigeria and other countries; and
“Carrying on such other activities as may be conducive to the discharge of the functions vested on the Council under or pursuant to this Act.
“I believe that the Council we are inaugurating today, which has ambassador Abdulkarim Musafari as the E.S and is chaired by the former Minister of power and steel Mallam Mohammed Murtala Aliyu, is capable of carrying out all its functions effectively. I wish to assure them of my full support.
Also the Permanent Secretary, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade in her remarks expressed optimism that the Council will complement the efforts by the Ministry, in ensuring that the development of the industry was in continuous progression, despite the hurdles that are being experienced.
Akinlade further disclosed that, as part of the Council’s mandates, it will also be responsible for “training of Nigerians in all aspects of the iron and steel industry and related fields”; “the deployment of senior Nigerian Management Staff and Trainees to steel plants and other sectors of the industry”; and especially for “Research into the Development and Manufacture of equipment to be used for the purpose of and in relation to-basic engineering in the steel industry”; is very significant and heart-warming to witness this inauguration.