Minister of State for Mines and Steel, Mr Abubakar Bwari, on Tuesday, said the revival of Ajaokuta Steel Company would save about 5 billion dollars annually for the country.

He said that the amount was usually spent annually on the importation of equipment for railway expansion and maintenance.

Bwari stated this during the 2016 budget performance assessment of the ministry before the House of Representatives Committee on Steel, in Abuja.

He said that the steel company had the capacity to generate 100,000 direct and 500,000 indirect employment opportunities in downstream and upstream industries.

“I will not conclude the presentation to this honourable committee without re-emphasising the benefits that a functional steel sector will have on the recessed Nigerian economy.

“For the construction industry, imports of over 4 million tons of rolled steel products and over 12 million tons of other steel products at the present rate will stop, leading to savings of several billions in foreign currency per annum.

“In the transport (rail) sector, with rail track, production in ASCL, more than 5 billion dollars imports of rail for railway expansion and maintenance will be saved per annum.

“Likewise, in the transportation (road) sector, availability of flat sheets, spares for automobile industries will significantly reduce foreign exchange,” he said. (NAN)

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