Nigeria is to become one of the major steel-exporting countries by the year 2014, according to projections by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
This was disclosed by SON Director-General, Mr. Joseph Odumodu, at the commissioning of the Phoenix Steel Mills Limited, Thermo-mechanically Treated (THT) plant recently in Ogijo, Ogun State.
Odumodu lamented that despite the efforts of past governments from 1970s till date, including the signing of international bilateral agreements and exchange programmes for transfer of the technological know-how in steel manufacture, the sector is yet to attain its desired level of growth.
The development, according to Odumodu, will, however, be a thing of the past within the next two years as various companies in the steel and iron-rod sector are beginning to spring up as a result of government’s intervention to encourage private sector participation in the steel sector.
He maintained that despite the challenges confronting the sector, the few operators still flying the flag of local value addition, in line with the industrialisation policy of the country, are trying their best and deserve commendation, even though the combined level of output and quality standard is not yet what it should be.
The THT plant, according to the SON boss, is a $20million project. He also noted that though the firm currently has about 1,000 workers, in the future, when it begins production of basic steel products needed for a variety of industrial and commercial uses, the sector will generate direct and indirect employment for a sizeable proportion of the population, as well to allied industries.