The Chief Executive Officer of a Nigerian-based steel manufacturing company, Mr Sanjay Kumar, has said that Nigeria has the potential to become a global player in the manufacture and exportation of iron rods.
Kumar, CEO of African Foundries Limited, made the statement while taking newsmen on a tour of the company's steel mill at Ogijo in Ogun State on Tuesday.
"Nigeria has abundant iron ore deposit and if the full potential of government is ploughed into its exploration and exploitation, this country can begin to produce steel for export.
"The potential is there for Nigeria because of her drive toward economic diversification; her manpower base; her intellectual base in metallurgy science; and because she possesses abundant natural resources for steel production.
"It is without doubt that Nigeria has the capacity to become Africa's voice in the international market place for the manufacture, marketing and exportation of rods," Kumar said.
He said that indigenous steel producing companies were doing enough to bridge the local demand-supply chain, adding that domestic rod production could reach 1, 250, 000 tonnes by 2013.
Kumar urged the Federal Government to improve on the nation's infrastructure to encourage more investors to go into the production of steel and iron rods locally.
Mr Uche Iwuamadi, Executive Director, Corporate Affairs, African Foundries Limited, said that local rod manufacture would abate the nation's unemployment ratio.
According to him, the steel making industry attracts skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labour which Nigerian has in abundance.
"Recycling of scrap metal entails getting scavengers to go get waste metal objects and supply mills that use them to produce rods.
"About 5000 people alone have been known to be gainfully employed and supplying us with the scrap metals we recycle for our production," he said.
The Technical Director of African Foundries Limited, Mr Ravi Sharma, said that building collapse in Nigeria should not be blamed on use of substandard iron rods.
He said that rods alone have not been known to be the cause of building collapsing.
"There is the need, however, for more government intervention in checking the importation and production of substandard building materials," he said.
Sharma said that Nigeria ought, by now, to have been exporting steel and rod to other countries, especially those in Africa.