The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Musa Sada, on Tuesday in Abuja declared that the enactment of a Metallurgical Act is key to the transformation of the nation’s steel sector.
Sada stated this when his Ministry and that of Power briefed the Senate Committee on Power, Metallurgy and Steel Development on their budget performance. He said the Metallurgical Bill Act would grant the Ministry legal authority to regulate and oversee the activities in the steel sector.
“The metallurgical bill which we presented to the Federal Executive Council is actually to give the Ministry the regulatory authority that it has in theory. “This law would make it legal for the Ministry to go inspect and redirect activities in the steel sector just as we have in the mining sector. The mining has the Minerals Mining Act but the steel sector that we have in the same ministry doesn’t have any legal frame framework to help it to operate,” he said.
The Minister also said that work on revitalization of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex was still on course to ensure that all the production lines in the complex were functioning. To this end, he disclosed that some expatriates are working on revamping the production lines under a Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Government and the foreign technical partners.
“If you go there you will see that production is going on on certain other things. But we are concerned about is to produce liquid steel. Otherwise government wouldn’t have kept workers there all this while simply sitting just doing nothing. There are currently more than 30 expatriates working on some of the production lines based on the private MOU that we have in place,” he disclosed.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, has appealed to the National Assembly to assist the Ministry with funds to enable it construct a permanent office for the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). He said the ongoing transition in the electricity market called for proper structure to enable the regulatory agency perform its responsibilities with efficiency.
He said the structures would guide the consumers on the modalities to lodge complaints over any issue that was related to quality service delivery. According to him, “When that happens, the functions of the NERC would be accentuated to the point that it will become a very visible instrument for consumers to lodge their complaints. So, we are concerned that up till now not enough funds have been made available for the regulatory commission to have a building of its own.
“It is not going to be long and the systems operator and market operator and so on would become a very huge component of stabilizing the electricity market. So, that is going to come on too. If we have good and befitting offices for NERC and the TCN, it is quite likely that they would then have space within their own buildings for NELCO, EMS, REA and others.”
Nebo noted that the provision of a permanent building for the NERC would help to stabilise the electricity market in Nigeria. The chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Metallurgy and Steel Development, Sen. Philip Aduda, promised that the committee would do its best to ensure that funds were allocated for the project.