The Minister of Works, David Umahi, has revealed that the government needs $35bn to kick start the construction of concrete roads nationwide.
He also stated that the moribund Ajaokuta steel company will provide 16 per cent of the steel material needed for the construction of Nigeria’s roads in concrete pavement.
This far-reaching resolution was the crux of discussion when the works minister met with the Minister of Steel Development, Shuaib Audu, at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
The Chief Press Secretary to the minister, Orji Uchenna, in a statement on Tuesday said, the meeting underscored the imperative of coordination, cooperation, and coherence in the execution of the Federal Government’s action plans for national development.
The minister noted that the funding which would be gotten through a partnership with a commercial bank will be assented to 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 analyzed 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 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 statement, the ministers resolved to synergise and strategise on steps to tap into the opportunities in the Ajaokuta Steel Plant for the development of road infrastructure in Nigeria.
He said that tapping into the opportunities in the steel industry would create jobs and wealth for Nigerians and encourage global market industrialisation.
The former Ebonyi State governor also assured the steel minister of his support to enhance the potentialities of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant.
The Minister continued, “One of the renewed hope agendas 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.”
Earlier in his remark, the minister of Steel Development emphasised the importance of the initiative and expressed hope that it would provide the needed economic boost for the nation, generate revenue and provide thousands of direct jobs for skilled and non-skilled technicians and hundreds of thousands of unskilled jobs in Nigeria stressing that, “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 thirdly, the plant has been inactive for close to four decades and we are here to restart the plant within the shortest possible time.”