Nigeria’s steel industry is facing stiff competition and is on the verge of going into extinction following activities of smugglers.
The Galvanised Iron and Steel Manufacturing Association, GISMA, had Thursday drew attention of government to the plight of the industry warning of imminent collapse of the sector as the textile industry did with attendant job losses if the increasing smuggling in the sector remained unchecked.
An official of GISMA, Alhaji Bello Mohammed, in a statement pleaded with the Federal Government to save steel manufacturing companies operating in Nigeria from imminent liquidation.
According to him, not less than seven industrialists who are members of the association have fully shut down their production plants, leading to more than one million tonnes per annum production loss.
He said that all required critical success factors to enable viable steel manufacturing were largely in place in the country but added that the killer monster was smuggling and was on daily basis putting the steel plants under.
Bello said, “In view of no effective clampdown on the smugglers by the Federal Government, they have been emboldened and more daring as they now use the Free Trade Zones where their products in containers are not formally inspected by assigned regulatory authorities.
“They also have scattered all over notorious warehouses that they use as bridge between the Free Trade Zones and the various markets nationwide. The smugglers do not pay statutory fees thereby defrauding the government of billions of revenue.”
He called on Federal Government through the office of the Vice-President to quickly set up a special anti-smuggling task force saddled with responsibility of putting a final stop to the smuggling of roofing sheets into the country.
According to him, this is the only way steel manufacturing companies can survive and Nigerians gainfully employed.
He said, “GISMA has presently lost more than one million tonnes of her production capacities to the smugglers with its associated effects on employees lay off, unpaid bank debts, and unsold volume of finished goods etc.
“Now is the time for the Federal Government to do the needful without further delay as it is only the Federal Government that can put a final stop to this economic sabotage that is fast killing steel manufacturing companies in Nigeria.”