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Economy - Development | Labour

Nigeria gears to lead steel production in Africa

afrol News, 10 June - The Nigerian government has plans to engage its nationals, especially young engineers to be sound steel and metal operators, as the oil rich west African state gears itself to become one of Africa’s giant steel producer.

The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Ahmed Mohammed Gusau, said his ministry along with other stakeholders was all out to ensure that they win back investors’ into the country’s steel industry.

Mr Gusau was addressing members of the National Association of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Students of Nigeria yesterday in Abuja.

He underscored the pivotal role metallurgical and materials engineering students play in the development of the country’s metal and steel industry.

The Minister said in a bid to bring about positive innovations to the industry, government had put in place both the minerals and metals policy and the minerals and mining Act of 2007, further noting that the ministry was prepared to come to association’s aid to boost the mines and steel sector.

He was confident to announce the commencement of steel materials production conducted by the Dana Steel Nigeria Limited Katsina, formerly Katsina Steel Rolling Mill.

Mr Gusau warned students to work hard in their studies, adding that awards for best performers especially in metallurgical and materials engineering faculty would be in line to enhance their studying and advancement.

The Minister was quick to point out that there would plenty of employment opportunities for young and aspiring engineers as well as metal workers, once production kicked off.

Speaking at the occasion earlier on, the Association’s national President Usman Zaharadeen had stated that the call on the Minister was aimed at establishing as to how government would handle the issue of securing employment for students as soon as they finished their studies.

Meanwhile, the government has extended an invitation to Portuguese businessmen to invest in other sectors such as the oil and gas industry, in its bid to create employment for its people.

The Minister of state for Energy and Petroleum, Odein Ajumogobia stated this during his meeting with the Portuguese Ambassador to Nigeria yesterday in Abuja.

Mr Ajumogobia explained how President Umaru Yar’Adua‘s administration had attached great importance to the observation of the rule of law in the conduct of government business, in order to win foreign investors’ confidence and trust.

In 2007, Nigeria’s estimated population stood at 135,031,164 people, making it the most populous country in Africa. 22 percent of its people worked in industry, including mining, manufacturing and construction, with petroleum production dominating the Nigerian economy.

The Central bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s estimates that unemployment rate has dropped by 16 percent from the high 1999 figure of 70 percent. The rate had declined by 16 to 54 percent from where it was in 2006.

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