Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bawa Bwari has lamented that Nigeria spends up to $4.5 billion on steel imports yearly.
However, despite the high cost of imports, he said Nigeria’s per capita was low compared to other developed countries.
In his keynote address at the opening of the fourth national steel summit with the theme: “Diversification of the Nigerian economy: The Indispensable role of the steel industry” held in Ikeja, Lagos, Bwari said building local capacity to produce steel would correct this and help Nigeria diversify from oil.
“The economy expends about $4.5 billion on steel imports per year which could be saved if they can be produced locally.
“Considering hat the consumption rate of steel and other metal products is regarded as a major index of industrialisation, it is obvious that Nigeria is seriously lagging behind, even by the standard of developing nations.
According to recent estimates, the annual per capita consumption of Steel in Nigeria is below 10kg while the corresponding world average stands at 208kg as at 2016.”
Bwari said the Muhammadu Buhari administration was making efforts to address the deficit in steel and metals consumption by creating enabling environment for private investment in steel production.
Based on research, he said the government had come to realise that the private sector produced better results than Government owned enterprises.
However, he said their performance was being limited by operational challenges, which he said the summit was a out to address.