The Minister of Works, David Umahi, has disclosed that initiating concrete road construction nationwide requires a sum of $35 billion from the Federal Government.
Furthermore, he emphasised that the defunct Ajaokuta steel company is poised to contribute 16 percent of the necessary steel materials for the construction of Nigeria’s roads with concrete pavements.
This pivotal decision became the focal point of discussion during a meeting between the Minister of Works and the Minister of Steel Development, Shuaib Audu, held at the ministry headquarters in Abuja.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Chief Press Secretary to the Minister, Orji Uchenna, highlighted that the meeting underscored the crucial need for coordination, cooperation, and coherence in executing the Federal Government’s action plans for national development.
The Minister pointed out that the required funding, to be secured through a collaboration with a commercial bank, will undergo approval by the Federal Executive Council.
Umahi said, “How do we reactivate the Ajaokuta Steel. We are going into the concrete road, in this concrete road, about 16 per cent of it is from Steel while 30 per cent is cement. We need a lot of money to start, but we decided to face it, and God has given us an idea.
“We need about $35 billion to start. If we start waiting for FG, it might become difficult. We did an analysis on the Return on Investment and the profit we could have made; part of it will go to bank interest.
“We are looking at a partnership with a commercial bank, but the Federal Executive Council has to endorse it. If this could be done, it means Mr. President is living up to his words, and this is going to be possible.“
According to the official statement, the ministers have resolved to collaborate and devise strategies to leverage the opportunities presented by the Ajaokuta Steel Plant for the advancement of road infrastructure in Nigeria.
Emphasising that tapping into the potential of the steel industry would not only generate employment and wealth for Nigerians but also foster global market industrialisation.
The ex-governor of Ebonyi State additionally pledged his support to the Minister of Steel, expressing a commitment to bolster the capabilities of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant.
The Minister continued, “One of the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr President is to think outside the box. Mr President inherited a large chunk of debt from the past administration; the beauty about it is that he is not complaining, he knew how the country was before he took the job and how it is. The good thing is that if you have passion for something, God will give you an idea.”
In his earlier remarks, the Minister of Steel Development underscored the significance of the initiative and expressed optimism that it would deliver the necessary economic impetus for the nation.
He highlighted its potential to generate revenue and create numerous direct employment opportunities for both skilled and non-skilled technicians, along with hundreds of thousands of unskilled jobs in Nigeria.
He emphasised: “We are to achieve three things: one, to create job opportunity for Nigerians as a whole; two, to ensure that the corridor around the North Central Zone and the Ajaokuta-Warri axis is busy with activities; and third, the plant has been inactive for close to four decades and we are here to restart the plant within the shortest possible time.”