By Maazi Obinna Agommuo
Executor Director, ESGADIA- Economic Strategic Growth And Development Initiative of Africa.
Steel is the most widely used metal in modern society, a key material for Industrialization and Urbanization. Its assumed that the Annual Steel Consumption in a country depends on her current GDP per capita level but also on her annual growth rate, therefore the import of Steel in Nation building cannot be overemphasized.
In developed Nations, the preferred means of transporting heavy materials such as Iron ore/Steel are by Sea Freight and Railroad as Roads are often and quick to dilapidate when heavy vehicles ply them.
The Lokoja Sea Port is strategic to the development of this sub-sector of the economy. Steel Factories located in various cities of Nigeria and Private Investors in this sub-sector can only invest huge in the development of steel if the means of transportation is right.
The uncompleted Lokoja Sea Port and unavailability of Railroad Network linking the States where Iron ore deposits exist is no doubt the reasons why Potential investors have stayed away from Iron Ore Mining and Steel Development. The Investors need to convey their Iron ore whether beneficiated or not to their Steel plants and the Nigerian Roads are not an option. Exports of Iron ore can only be done if the Lokoja Sea port is completed and the Channels properly dredged to achieve deep drafts to allow for big vessels to berth and load Iron ore from Lokoja for export and for local consumption.
Therefore the Federal Government of Nigeria must as a matter of urgency complete the Lokoja Sea port if Nigeria is serious at attracting investment in this sub-sector.
The Ministries of Mines and Steel Development and Transportation must agree to pressurize or lobby the Federal Government to complete the Lokoja Sea port. The State Government and the people of Kogi State must begin to put pressure on the Federal Government to complete the said Lokoja Sea port as this will in no small way creat jobs for the people of Kogi State and Nigerians in general.
Am happy that the Hon. Minister of Transportation is here with us and he believes in the vision of ESGADIA to liberate Afrika economically by helping to facilitate Afrika’s Industrialization.
Nigeria should wake up from her slumber and take the lead in Steel development in Afrika.