By Palma Ileye
Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu has said that Federal Government was committed to a sustainable future that demands innovation and transformation in Steel production adding that advancements will align with global environmental standards.
Audu disclosed this at the 2nd African Resource and Energy Investment Summit 2023, AFNIS, held at the International Conference Centre, ICC, in Abuja.
He said that by investing in domestic refining and production capabilities, “We are not only adding value but also paving the way for sustainable development, ensuring that the wealth generated from these resources remains significantly within our communities, empowering our people whilst fostering technological innovation.
“Our journey in the mining sector has been both transformative and evolutionary. As we stand at the cusp of a new era, the pursuit of value addition becomes paramount, particularly in the realm of transition metals. The demand for these metals, crucial in the development of green technologies, has surged globally. Africa’s potential to meet this demand is vast, yet largely untapped.”
According to him, the key lies not only in extracting these metals but in harnessing our capabilities to refine and produce them locally. Doing so is an opportunity to foster economic growth, create jobs, and also maintain control over our resource value chain.
Speaking on the summit, he said that pivotal subject resonates deeply with the economic and industrial future of our continent: “Adding Value to the Mining Sector: Locally Producing Transition Metals.”
He pointed out that this strategic shift was not without its challenges hence it necessitates collaboration among National and Sub-national Governments, industry stakeholders, and investors to build a robust infrastructure, promote innovation, and instigate supportive policies that encourage local value addition.
Furthermore, the Minister called for a commitment to sustainability, incorporating responsible mining practices, and embracing environmentally friendly production techniques to mitigate any adverse impact on the ecosystem.
“As the Minister of Steel Development, I stand committed to supporting initiatives that foster the local production of transition metals.
“We are committed to a sustainable future that demand’s innovation and transformation in steel production, ensuring that our advancements align with global environmental standards. It is based on this that a roadmap is being developed for the revitalization of the steel sector in Nigeria – with considerable attention to issues of insurance for government owned steel plants, beneficial incentives for investors that are willing to put money in the sector, and designating the 24, 000 – hectare land in Ajaokuta as an Industrial Park.
“The commitment to developing the Steel sector remains unwavering, with a focus on job creation, attracting investments, and contributing significantly to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product as outlined in the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, where the president intends to make Nigeria a G-20 economy before the end of his second term in office in 2031.
“Finally, in line with the 8-point agenda of Mr President and the proposed roadmap for the ministry of steel development, the following are some suggested pathways transition metals can be produced locally with requisite value addition, though not exhaustive, it includes; Enforcing the Processing of Raw Materials Locally: Government will ensure a conducive environment for investments in mineral processing plants across the country. This will ensure forex proliferation and creation of jobs for both skilled and unskilled workers in the Mining sector.
“We must Improve Promotional Activities for Specific Minerals: We must build on the several ongoing initiatives to grow Nigeria’s mining sector; local and global promotion needs to be intensified on Lithium, Gold, Limestone etc to attract investments into the sector.
“We must Invest in exploration of Bankable data for Mining: Government will encourage investments in the determination of large volumes and deposits of transition metals. We need to Secure the Mining Environment: Ensuring a secure environment through enhanced security initiatives for mining operations remains one of the matters that requires urgent attention.
“We need to establish Host Communities Mineral Development Fund: This will address the challenges investors usually encounter with local communities on ownership of mineral deposits,” he explained.
He also harped on the need to invest in bankable data to grow the economy through the Steel sector.
Also, the Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu in an address, said that the summit was an opportunity to shapen the trajectory of Nigeria’s energy landscape and drive sustainable growth adding that Nigeria with its abundant natural resources, skilled workforce, and vibrant entrepreneurial spirit was poised to become a regional powerhouse in the energy industry.
Adelabu hinted that the Nigerian Government was making commendable efforts in the Power sector to address the long-standing issues of electricity supply noting that while there was still work to be done, the commitment to improving the Power sector is evident.
Saying that, “The initiatives to expand access to electricity, upgrade infrastructure, promote renewable energy, and encourage private investment were steps in the right direction. With continued dedication and collaboration between the government, private sector and other key stakeholders, Nigeria can look forward to a brighter future with a more robust and reliable power supply.
“Furthermore, one of our cardinal goals is to attract domestic and foreign investment that will propel Nigeria towards energy self-sufficiency, economic diversification, and environmental sustainability. We are committed to creating a conducive business environment, ensuring regulatory clarity, and fostering public-private partnership that will drive the Energy sector.”
Discussing the ongoing efforts of the Nigerian Government in the Power Sector, he said that, “Electricity is a fundamental requirement for economic growth and development, and Nigeria, as the most populous country in Africa, has been grappling with power supply challenges for many years.
“However there is a reason to be optimistic about the progress being made in this crucial sector. First and foremost, His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR has recognized the importance of addressing the power crisis and has made it a top priority.
“Notably, the Electricity Act, 2023 signed into law by His Excellency consolidates the laws relating to the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry as it provides a legal and institutional framework for the power sector in Nigeria in the areas of electricity generation, transmission, system operation, distribution, supply, trading, consumer protection.
He also stated that the Act further provides a holistic, integrated resource plan that compels the utilization of renewable and non-renewable energy sources for power supply in the country and attracts investments into the sector.