Chinese investor raises hope on Nigeria’s economic prospects
Mr. Andy Lu, who is also the Managing Director of the steel company, made the observation in his office in Lagos, averred that Nigeria is not only the most populous and biggest economy in Africa, but also has youths that are eager to work, learn and make sacrifice for the country.
Besides, he noted that there is a rising middle class, that portends increased consumption and demand, which is capable of sustaining the country’s position as the biggest economy in the continent.
Meanwhile, Lu affirmed that the foreign exchange policy on 41 items by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has helped the expansion of local production of steel and other products.
According to him, the restriction has been particularly beneficial to local steel industry because “in terms of production cost, foreign countries have advantage over Nigeria. For us, the restriction has actually helped the local steel industry with increased drive for sourcing of raw materials that are previously ignored locally.
“This now has pushed costs down and makes the imported ones costlier, while encouraging patronage for made in Nigeria products,” he said.
Lu said that the company’s confidence in the future of Nigeria’s economy is evidenced by its expansion drive to Abia State where it is currently establishing a $120 million steel company that would come on-stream by April 2016 and the biggest in West Africa.
We are very proud of what we are doing. One of our contributions to Nigeria’s economy is turning waste to wealth, which would have been causing environmental hazard and degradation. The wastes have been converted to wealth and the quality of the iron rods has the certification of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria and widely distributed.
“The welfare package for our workers is highly competitive within the industry. We started operations with 100 direct jobs, but now
we have over 700 direct employment and thousands of indirect jobs through haulage and scrap businesses.
“In 2008, a tonne of iron rods was N180,000, but now, with our production, it has gone down to N100,000. Our activity has really saved the country huge foreign exchange in importation of both raw materials and finished iron rods.
“But if we must make an appeal, it is for the government to help us access loans at cheaper rates. We are expecting the same policy in agriculture sector in the steel industry. The National Electricity Regulatory Commission should broker a preferential tariff system for us, given our huge consumption needs,” he said.
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