Olusegun Aganga, Nigerian minister for industry, trade and investment has said that plans have been concluded to develop and implement a comprehensive Backward Integration Policy (BIP) for the iron and steel sub-sectors of the Nigerian economy
Aganga noted that the initiative was in line with the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), which has been strategically developed and linked with sectors of the economy where the country currently has competitive and comparative advantage such as mines, steel and agri-business.
"What we have done today is to bring together all the stakeholders in the metal sector which is critical to industrialisation to look at how we can develop and attract more investors into the sector through the right policies and strategies. We cannot just sit down in Abuja and develop a policy for the sector without the full engagement, input and involvement of key players in the sector," he said.
Aganga observed that Nigeria spends US$3.3bn in the iron and steel sector annually in the importation of steel. Yet, the country has iron ore and there are currently some cold rolling mills in the country. The minister hopes to implement the BIP in iron-ore, so that Nigeria can become a net exporter of iron-ore, as with cement.
The minister added that the success which the government has achieved with the BIP in the cement industry has proven that it can be replicated in at least 15 sectors of the economy. This will help diversify the Nigerian economy, create more jobs and move from a poor to rich economy, he said.
"In the past, we have made the mistake of relying on exporting raw materials and in the process exported jobs. This is what the industrial revolution plan is trying to change. We will work together with all the stakeholders, including state governments, manufacturers, ministries, departments and agencies of Government to drive the implementation," Aganga promised.
Musa Sada, minister of mines and steel development, called for increased collaboration between the federal ministries of Mines and Steel Development, Industry, Trade and Investment for proper utilisation of Nigeria's abundant industrial minerals to boost industrialisation.