PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said until Nigeria revives its steel sector, the country’s dream of becoming an industrialised nation may not be realised.
He said the huge demand for steel in Nigeria informed his administration’s decision to give the sector the needed priority.
Buhari spoke at the sixth edition of the Nigerian Mining Week, held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
The President, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, noted that to drive full potential of the sector, the Federal Government resolved to engage a consultant to concession the Ajaokuta Steel Company and the Nigerian Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe.
“The development of the steel sector is still a huge priority of our administration. Our vision for an industrialised nation cannot be achieved without a vibrant steel sector. We understand the huge demand for steel and iron in our domestic markets and across the sub-region.
“This is why we prioritized the resolution of all the issues constraining the full operation of the Ajaokuta Steel company. To this end a transaction adviser has been appointed to concession the Ajaokuta Steel Company and the Nigerian Iron Ore Mining Company Itakpe. The selection process is ongoing,” Buhari said.
According to him, his administration is committed to “break the jinx and actualise the dream of a vibrant steel sector”.
Meanwhile, the conference doubled as an opportunity to unveil the online portal of the Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
The portal is known as the eMC+.
The MCO defined it as a “management system which assists in public administration of mineral titles in a responsible, efficient and transparent manner, throughout the life circle of the mineral titles online”.
The Head of the MCO, Obadiah Simon, said the system was designed to simplify and reduce human interference in the process of requesting for a mineral title.
Beyond driving more revenue into the Federal Government’s coffer, it is expected to as well promote transparency and accountability in the sector, Simon noted.
“It will cater for the entire process of Mineral Title Administration from application submission, payment of fees, granting (refusing) up to the issuance of certificate.”
In his remarks, the project consultant, Francisco Igualada, described the initiative as the best among the West African nations.
The Geosciences and Mineral Management Consultant expressed optimism on the potential of the initiative to promote Foreign Direct Investment in the country.