The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, has said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the completion of Ajaokuta Steel Company.
Adegbite stated this in Abuja at a media briefing on the proposed Nigerian solid minerals downstream workshop scheduled to hold December 2.
The minister, who spoke through his Special Adviser (SA) on Special Duty, Mr Sunny Ekozin, stated that the ministry had been working round the clock to actualise the “presidential directives”.
He added: “For the past three months, we have been doing everything possible to ensure we make progress. We are happy to let the nation know that the President has given us full backing in this assignment.
“The support given by the President includes political backing to ensure that Ajaokuta works. By the grace of God, it will work soon.”
Adegbite also said part of the President’s directives was for the sector to solve long, intractable problems bedevilling the solid minerals and ensure Nigeria could rely on the sector to diversify the economy.
The minister said after articulating the problems for three months, the administration was on the path of harnessing the potential that abound in the minerals sector for the benefit of Nigerians.
He explained that one of the steps taken was the current process of developing the Nigerian Downstream Mineral Policy.
According to him, the policy is first of its kind in the history of the country.
“The Downstream Mineral Policy will trigger the nation with a clear diversification blueprint in a sustainable manner, especially for the revamping of Ajaokuta Steel Company.
“It will also ensure effective harnessing of the abundant minerals endowment spread across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“As part of the process leading to the revamping of the entire solid minerals sector, we are sensitising key stakeholders, especially large investors of this novel initiative, for the development of solid mineral downstream value chains.
“This will help to create massive jobs, wealth and industrialisation,” Adegbite said.
The minister said the ministry was determined and committed to ensuring that the President’s mandate was realised within the next three years.
He added that the present government would stem the export of jobs and wealth by unwittingly exporting 35 million of unprocessed mineral products annually.
Adegbite pledged to open the sector to genuine indigenous and foreign investors to actively participate in the downstream licensing of mineral plants.