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FG targets export of 1m metric tons of steel yearly

FLORENCE UDOH

Nigeria’s first consignment of steel for export will soon commence as African Foundries Limi-ted, a foreign company operating in Nigeria, will begin export of steel to Ghana.
African Foundries Limited, which has a production capacity of 500,000 tons of steel billets, has a state of the art continuous rolling facility, and is the only TMT producing mill in Nigeria, and its first export consignment is about five metric tons.
Sanjay Kumar, the company’s managing director, said exports would commence on April 27, 2016. “Today is a proud and pleasant moment, and we are showcasing our feat to announce the breakthrough, because we have started to produce for export,” he said, adding that the firm started with one five ton capacity induction furnace in 2010.
Kumar added that the company now has multiple furnaces of bigger capacity, along with a re-bar mill and a structural rolling mill, with current capacity at 500,000 tons per year.
“With this plant and the two others in Ikorodu, Lagos and Suleja, in Niger state respectively, we are targeting 1 million metric tons per year to be able to position ourselves for the 1.5 million metric tons Nigerians demand for steel.”
African Steel mill has 200,000 metric tons capacity while Abuja Steel mills in Suleja, which will be commissioned soon, has 150,000 metric tons per year capacity.
Kumar said the company’s products are at par with what obtains in other parts of the world, adding that the main component is scraps sourced by about 5,000 otherwise unemployed youths.
“Big construction firms depend on us and we produce to their specifications,” he said.  “The steel industry will develop better, if the import regime is favourable. Nigeria is one of the richest, especially in iron-ore, and the development of the industry will put the country at par with others in five years.”
The country’s feat is coming on the heels of federal government’s failure to develop the steel sector due to mismanagement and abandonment of its several steel companies.
The federal government, in 1971, established the Nigerian Steel Development Authority (NSDA) to focalise a steel plant. The agency was later dissolved and in its place were Ajaokuta Steel Project, Delta Steel Company, Jos Steel Rolling Company and Katsina Steel Rolling Company.
Others are Oshogbo Steel Rolling Company, National Iron Ore Mining Company, National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency, National Metallurgical Development Center, and Metallurgical Training Institute.

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