Feature: Make Steel the Centrepiece of your Economic Programme

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After 12 calendar months in office, President Tinubu needs to take stock and decide on what next. If you ask me, he should make steel the centrepiece of his economic programme as it is what will spur industrialisation

Ayo Akinfe

[1] Set Nigeria an annual target of producing 35m tonnes of steel. This will match Brazilian output and put us on the same trajectory as sister developing nations like Mexico, Iran, Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam

[2] Announce a radical scrap metal collection programme. This will involve using all the money collected from corrupt officials to buy scrap metal. Maybe call it the Industrial Trader Metal Money Programme

[3] Any local government that hands in up to 100 tonnes of scrap metal a year should get a federally-funded technical college located within its domain to train its youth

[4] Get the Russian steel giant Severstal to buy Ajaokuta and get it working. No excuses here please. Severstal Russian Steel is a leading international producer that ran plants in North America. If they can run steel mills in Russia, the US, India, etc, they can run Ajaokuta easily

[5] Severstal alone produces about 12m tonnes of steel in Russia, so I fail to see why we should not give them a similar target in Nigeria. In 2014, Severstal sold its North American plants for $2.3bn. If they invest that money in Ajaokuta, they will turn it into a modern and highly productive facility

[6] I would then sell Aladja to India’s Tata Steel. This is another global giant. In India, Tata Steel face challenges just as daunting as we do in Nigeria but manage to forge ahead. Tata recently shed 3,000 jobs across its European operations. We should be wooing them to Nigeria pointing out that our labour is far cheaper

[7] We should woo car assembly plants with the promise that all the steel they need will be provided locally. Any company that creates in excess of 5,000 jobs should get an adjoining steel plant built on its facility in which the federal government will take a 25% stake. An agreement guaranteeing this should be sent to every automobile manufacturer this year

[8] Every one of our 774 local government areas must have at least one technical college where steel is a course. We need to make the point loud and clear that we will never get out of poverty unless we manufacture and you cannot manufacture without steel

[9] All our mega evangelical churches should be encouraged to open metal collection points and steel furnaces. They should be given tax rebates if they do this. We can create the title of Steel Pastor for those who excel

[10] Fulani cattle herdsmen who insist on living nomadic lifestyles should be encouraged to go around the country collecting scrap metal. They should be provided with metal bins in exchange for their AK47s and livestock and asked to clear Nigeria of every abandoned vehicle and metal object

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