- SON assesses, promises Govt’s support
By Franklin Ocheneyi
“So far, we have been using iron scrap as our raw material but scrap availability is getting increasingly scarce and it is a big threat to the steel sector in Nigeria.”
Parduman Gupta, Chairman, African Industries Group (AIG) voiced out this concern yesterday, when the Management of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) led by Osita Aboloma, its Director-General, toured African Foundries Limited’s 400,000 metric tons per annum installed capacity plant in Ogun State.
Gupta said that although they have been advised by Federal Government to invest in the Mining sector and explore the usage of Iron Ore available in Nigeria, yet, he said: “Unfortunately, in this matter, also the challenge is that the percentage of iron content in the domestically available iron ore in Nigeria is much lesser.”
Nevertheless, he said the Group has made heavy investment to introduce the latest benefication technology for the increase of iron ore content suitable for steel production.
“This project is at an advance stage and hopefully we will be able to make Nigeria self –sufficient for its requirement of iron rods and some other sections and profiles also,” he said.
It’s our sacred mandate to protect you – SON
In his response, SON DG lauded the group for having scored many firsts, as he puts it: “First to establish in this area, first to export and having the capacity to employ 8,000 direct and 102,000 indirect workers. It is no small feat and your inputs are highly welcomed at this moment of diversification of our economy. Anything that will bring foreign exchange is welcomed in Nigeria. So, on that note, I commend you.”
He told the steel makers that SON, within this period has evolved from being a regulator that you used to know to a business facilitator.
“It is our sacred mandate now to protect investors and employers of labour like you. It is now our business to protect your investment, to create enabling environment for your business to prosper.
“So long as you keep complying with our Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP), we will protect you. It is our duty for us to create an enabling environment for your businesses to thrive because we consider the steel sector as a very vital part of the economy,” said Aboloma.