The Minister of Steel Development, Shuaibu Audu, is actively seeking a funding injection of N35 billion from financial institutions to breathe new life into the dormant Ajaokuta Steel Company.
Audu emphasized that the collaboration with financial institutions aims to explore optimal financing solutions to reinvigorate the light Steel Mill in Ajaokuta and initiate the production of iron rods.
The ministry’s Chief Information Officer, Tine-Iulun Maureen, stated in a release that the minister disclosed these plans during a meeting with a delegation from Stanbic IBTC Bank on Tuesday in Abuja.
The statement read, “It has become imperative to seek funding of about N35bn to enable the re-start of the Light Mill Section of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant for the production of iron rod to achieve the agenda of the current administration to revive Ajaokuta in phases in accordance with its set timelines and benchmark.
“This is in furtherance of achieving its mandate of reviving the steel sector, improving industrialization in the country, diversifying the economy, providing jobs for the teeming youths and growing the Gross Domestic Product, is collaborating with Financial Institutions, for best financing options to re-start the light Steel Mill in Ajaokuta.”
Speaking further, Audu disclosed that the ministry has an existing agreement with the Works Ministry to be off-takers of the rod produced as well as with the Ministry of Defence to build a Military Complex in Ajaokuta, adding, “We have huge opportunities in Ajaokuta and potentially a lot can be achieved.”
Earlier, the CEO, Stanbic Bank, Wole Adeniyi, who was represented by the Head of Industrials, Debola Seriki, expressed the bank’s willingness to partner with the Ministry, while requesting further details for their consideration towards realising the project.
In the same vein, the statement added that the minister met with top management of United Bank of Africa and Voda Infrastructure Management Ltd to ensure that funds are raised for the immediate take-off of the project for sustainable development of the Steel Sector.