The Federal Government has announced its plan to invest $35 billion in the construction of concrete roads across the country, using 16 percent of the steel material from the Ajaokuta steel plant.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Works, David Umahi, after a meeting with the Minister of Steel Development, Shuaib Audu, at the ministry headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Works Minister, Orji Uchenna, the meeting was aimed at enhancing coordination, cooperation, and coherence in the execution of the Federal Government’s action plans for national development.
Umahi said that the funding for the project would be sourced through a partnership with a commercial bank, subject to the approval of the federal executive council.
He explained that the project would help to reactivate the Ajaokuta steel plant, which has been inactive for close to four decades, and create jobs and wealth for Nigerians.
He added that the project was in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari, who inherited a large chunk of debt from the past administration but was not deterred by the challenges.
Umahi said, “How do we reactivate the Ajaokuta Steel? We are going into the concrete road, in this concrete road, about 16 percent of it is steel, while 30 percent is cement. We need a lot of money to start, but we decided to face it and God has given us an idea.
“We need about $35 billion to start. If we start waiting for FG it might become difficult. We did an analysis on the Return on Investment and the profit we could have made, part of it will go to bank interest. We are looking at a partnership with a commercial bank but Federal Executive Council has to endorse it. If this could be done it means Mr. President is living up to his words and this is going to be possible.”
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On his part, the minister of steel development expressed optimism that the initiative would provide the needed economic boost for the nation, generate revenue and provide thousands of direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians.
He said, “We are to achieve three things, one to create job opportunity for Nigerians as a whole, two, to ensure that the corridor around the North Central Zone and the Ajaokuta-Warri axis is busy with activities and thirdly, the plant has been inactive for close to four decades and we are here to restart the plant within the shortest possible time.”
He also commended the works minister for his support and collaboration to enhance the potentialities of the Ajaokuta steel plant.