By Francisca Oluyole
Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, Minister of Mines and Steel Development says Premium Steel and Mines Limited in Warri, Delta can create 40,000 jobs.
Adegbite made this known in a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja by his Special Assistant on Media , Mr Ayodeji Adeyemi.
The statement quoted the minister as saying that “Premium Steel and Mines Limited, Warri Delta State is capable of generating 40,000 jobs when working in full capacity”.
The minister who went on a facility tour to the company also said it could drive job growth in the economy.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the firm was formerly called Delta Steel Company before it was privatised.
Adegbite, therefore, encouraged the management of the steel company to get it running in full capacity, noting that the ministry has a mandate to diversify the economy and create jobs.
“The mandate of the ministry is to expand the sector, use it to diversify the economy and create jobs and also to generate revenue for the government.
“I will encourage you to speed up the process. You are going to employ a lot of people which is a welcome development,” he said.
Adegbite also said that it was important for the nation’s steel sector to produce flat steel sheet; noting that such was vital for the development of the sector.
He added that “For the nation to industrialise, we need to produce flat sheet, which is the ultimate goal of the sector. With flat sheet we can produce many things like engine blocks, vehicle bodies among others.”
Adegbite also rallied the steel producers to support the Metallurgical Industry Bill, as the bill when enacted into law would assist in establishing programmes to aid the private sector operate optimally.
“The bill will also help private sector to produce, compete high quality products locally and at the international market. Government is willing to do everything to support the industry.
“That is why we have proposed a Metallurgical Industrial Bill, which is at the council for approval. When it is approved it will support the industry.
“It will make it a lot easier for steel operators to operate. We will have been empowered by the law to support your steel company because the support will have the backing of the law.”
In his response, Mr Anand Badjatya, The Group Chief Executive Officer of Premium Steel and Mines Limited, said that the management of the company was working towards reviving the company fully.
He said that the company would save the nation more than a million tons of steel import and conserve about 600 million dollars in foreign exchange when working at full capacity.
‘We aim to save the nation about 600 million dollars from import substitution,” he said. (NAN)