NSE seeks declaration of state of emergency in steel sector

NSE (Nigerian Stock Exchange)

NSE (Nigerian Stock Exchange)

ENGINEERS under the aegis of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) have urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the steels sector to set the stage for its revival.

The President of the Society, Ademola Olorunfemi, who stated this in Abuja, explained that taking such a step would indicate the readiness of the government to genuinely stimulate authentic and sustainable industrialization revolution that will create jobs.

He also charged the Federal Government to set machinery in motion for the establishment of Nigerian Metallurgical Industry Council (NMIC) to regulate the activities of metallurgical sector.

Olorunfemi stressed that there is the need for government to withdraw the Nigerian Metallurgical Industry Bill, which he said is not responsive to the needs of the development and sustainable growth of metallurgical sector.

To show its seriousness about the need for a replacement of the bill, he hinted that the NSE has proactively crafted a 68-page NigerianMetallurgical Industry Bill in 2014, which is presently before the National Assembly as well as the Ministry of Mines and Steel.

The NSE boss advocated expedite action on technical and infrastructure completion of Ajaokuta Steel project as well as the resuscitation of National Iron Ore Mining Company within the context of diversifying the national economy.

While calling for the revisit of the sale of Delta Steel Company by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), Olorunfemi said: “steps must be taken to ensure that it works optimally since it is the only public sector integrated steel company that was concessioned and actually produced liquid steel for more than 10 years. Government should also recover all the inland rolling mills that are currently under lock and key from the investors in line with the terms of the privatization.”

The national umbrella body of Engineers also said the provision of adequate transportation infrastructure such as rail, road and waterways that link project sites to raw materials sources and the markets must be prioritized within the framework of the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan.

Olorunfemi, who decried the terrible state the roads in the country, said it is becoming very clear that the required financing for the road sector can no longer be met through the normal budgetary provisions, which necessitates the need to explore other financing sources.

“Fortunately, Nigeria is amongst only a few sub-Saharan African countries with adequate balance sheet parameters to attract private capital in road infrastructure provision and operation. This requires an appropriate institutional framework such as the proposed Federal Roads Authority (FRA) without which private capital cannot be attracted or adequately managed,” he explained.

The NSE Chief summited that to carry out road reform in line with the existing international best practices, there is urgent need to involve the road users in the management and funding of roads which can only be done through the establishment of FRA and the National Road Fund.

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