The Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ISSSAN) yesterday in Lagos said that the “death” of the steel industry in the country aggravated the nation’s unemployment rate.
Deputy-General Secretary of the association, Mr Adewale Okesola, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Wednesday.
Okesola said that unless the steel industry was revived, unemployment problem in the country would persist. He said that the Ajaokuta Steel Company alone, if revived, could employ no fewer than 140,000 Nigerians. “If Ajaokuta alone can absorb so much unemployed Nigerians, then we can be sure that the other steel firms, if also revived, would employ much more. “So, let the government ensure the revival of the steel companies scattered around the country. “By the time Ajaokuta, Delta, Osogbo, Jos and Kastina steel firms are revived, we will not be talking of unemployment in the country,’’ he said.
Okesola added that apart from creating direct employment, the revival of the steel sector would also create indirect employment for millions of Nigerians.
According to him, the revival of the industry would definitely aid the growth of the country’s new automobile industry and the transformation of the epileptic Nigerian Railway Corporation.
“Government knows the genesis of the nation’s calamity in terms of unemployment, except if they do not want to be sincere. “If the government can be sincere and focused; if they can pump money such that the steel industry will pick up, we will forget some of our current plagues,” he said.
The union’s secretary stated that lack of commitment, corruption and politicisation of the steel sector, were responsible for its ruin. He added that the problems had also hindered all efforts to transform the industry. (NAN)