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Peter Obi: Dollar has become the underground currency of Nigeria’s economy



Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections, has lamented the dollarisation of the Nigerian economy.

In an interview with Arise TV on Monday, October 2,

Obi said that the naira has faded in significance as the use of the dollar in the country has led to unproductivity.

“Dollar has become the underground currency of our economy.

It shouldn’t be. We have a currency called the naira.

All the things people use dollars to do that are not productive should be removed,” Obi said.

“I can assure you that when you remove it, it can strengthen the currency.

Today, even when you want to do party primaries, people share dollars. That is not our currency.

“There should be a stiff penalty in dealing with the issue.

If people earn dollars legitimately, let them spend it the way they want.

However, it has now become a means of corruption and criminality in our system.”

Obi added that the country should work more on exports to strengthen the currency.

Dollarisation is a process by which a foreign currency, in this case the US dollar, circulates alongside or even replaces the domestic currency.

This can happen for a number of reasons, such as economic instability,

hyperinflation, or a lack of confidence in the domestic currency.

What are the implications of dollarisation?

Dollarisation can have a number of negative implications for an economy, including:

  • It can make it difficult for businesses to compete with foreign companies, as they will have to pay their workers and suppliers in dollars.
  • It can lead to higher inflation, as the government will have to print more money to pay for goods and services that are priced in dollars.
  • It can make it difficult for the government to control its economy, as it will be subject to the whims of the US Federal Reserve.

What can be done to address dollarisation?

There are a number of things that can be done to address dollarisation, such as:

Strengthening the domestic currency by making it more attractive to hold and use.

This can be done by reducing inflation, improving economic growth, and increasing confidence in the government.

Imposing restrictions on the use of foreign currencies.

This can be done by limiting the amount of foreign currency that can be held,

exchanged, or used for transactions.

Promoting the use of domestic currencies in international trade and investment.

This can be done by negotiating trade agreements that require the use of domestic currencies and

by providing incentives for businesses to invest in the domestic economy.

It is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to dollarisation.

The best approach will vary depending on the specific circumstances of each country.

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Nigeria to begin steel production from Government-owned Steel Companies in coming months adopting new, strategic approach – Prince Audu



The Honourable Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu has said that Nigeria will begin production of steel from government-owned steel companies in the coming months, adopting a more strategic and new approach in line with the ‘renewed hope agenda’ of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR.

Prince Audu made this known on Friday in Abuja when he held an interactive session with members of the Steel Press Corp to brief them on the mandates and expectations of the novel Ministry created by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR to industrialise Nigeria under the ‘renewed hope agenda’.

The Honourable Minister said that with the support and approval of Mr. President, he and his team of experts are adopting a more strategic and collegiate approach to reviving the moribund Ajaokuta steel plants, as well as other steel plants in the country.

Prince Audu called for the support of the media as the fourth estate of the realm towards the actualization of the vision of Mr. President, describing them as critical stakeholders in the sector.

Prince Audu said that with all hands on deck, engagements with local and foreign investors, and relevant government and private institutions coming to actualization, Nigeria will commence steel production in the coming months, secure a $10 billion investment in the economy through the steel industry, and create 500,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“The mandate that the president has given us is to try and do some homework and revive the industry. It is a difficult task, and there are certain things that we plan to do over the next months and years to achieve these objectives.

“Number one is that we want to create a 10-year roadmap to revive the steel and non-ferrous metals industry in Nigeria. In addition to that, we would also put together a 3-year roadmap for the revival of the Ajaokuta steel complex. Part of what that will involve is concessioning the Ajaokuta Steel plant to people who have the core competence to get the job done.

“Ajaokuta has about 44 production units within the 24,000 hectares. Perhaps different aspects can be handled by different people with relevant core competencies.

“Part of what Mr. President has said about the revival of Ajaokuta under the 3-year roadmap is to use a collegiate approach. Two things we are looking to do under the collegiate approach to achieve short-term success are the revival of the Light Steel Mill for the production of iron rods and the production military hardwares at the engineering workshop in Ajaokuta.

“I have been in conversations with the Honourable Minister of Works, Sen. David Umahi who has given me a letter that there would be off-takers of any iron rods produced from the Light Steel Mill of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant.

“I have engaged with the Minister of State for Defence, Governor Bello Matawalle, who we are looking to partner with in terms of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex together with DICON so that military hardwares can be produced. I have also engaged with His Excellency Mohammed Badaru, I have engaged with the hierarchy of the Ministry of Defence for that project. Part of the plans is to revive the engineering workshop to get it going to help us produce military hardware.

“It is a lot of work, and it is something that Mr. President has given us his full support, and the Federal Government is determined to do those things.

“We have also engaged with foreign investors to come and set up new steel plants. The Minister of Defence and myself were in China, in the Guangzhou and Hefei regions of China, from the 1st of January to the 2nd week of January this year, to discuss with the senior executives of the Luan Steel Group where they want to come and set up a new steel plant in Nigeria.

“Something similar again for Indian Company, Jindal Steel. Jindal Steel has committed at the sidelines of the G20 Summit in New Delhi, India, in a meeting with Mr. President that they plan to invest $5 billion in setting up a steel plant in Nigeria.

“If you look at some of the things we are looking to do: the revival of the Ajaokuta Steel plants, as well as other steel plants in the country, together with the new Luan and Jindal Steel plants, we expect that we should be able to bring an excess of $10 billion U.S. dollars into the economy and create an excess of 500,000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians,” Prince Audu said.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Mary Ogbe said that the President, in his wisdom, created the Ministry, knowing the importance of steel to national development, to make Nigeria enter into a committee of developed nations globally.

Lizzy Okoji

SA Media to the Honourable Minister of Steel Development.

February 3, 2024

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Steel Development Minister Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu visits Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello CON, briefs him on positive developments in the Steel industry




…congratulates him on the appointments of New Ohinoyi, other monarchs, LGA Chairs, Cabinet Members

The Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of Kogi State, His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello CON, on Friday, 12 January 2024 to brief him on the recent developments in the steel industry and proposed steel investment deals expected to bring about $10 billion into the nation’s economy.

This is also as Prince Audu congratulated the governor on the recent appointments of the New Ohinoyi of Ebira Land, other traditional rulers, local government caretaker chairmen, and state executive cabinet members.

The details of the meeting between the Honourable Minister of Steel Development and the Governor were made known in a statement signed by the Special Assistant Media to the Minister, Lizzy Okoji on Friday in Abuja.

Prince Audu thanked the governor for his support in ensuring that he delivers on the national assignment as Minister to revive the nation’s steel industry in line with the “Renewed Hope Agenda” of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR.

Briefing the governor on the updates in the steel industry, Audu told Bello that upon actualization of all the prospective steel deals, billions of dollars of foreign direct investments would come into the nation’s steel industry, which would further create over 500,000 direct and indirect job opportunities for Nigerians including thousands of Kogites.

“I am delighted to brief you on the positive developments in the steel industry that the President Tinubu Administration is keen on reviving in order to open up the nation’s economy and create job opportunities.

“Significant progress has been made in the sector with my engagements with prospective international and local investors who have expressed their interest in investing in the steel industry, as well as private financial institutions who are ready to invest funds in the sector.

“We have had expressions of interest from India’s Jindal Steel Company and China’s Lu’an Steel Group which are ready to invest billion of dollars in the sector as part of the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr. President. We will also begin production of military hardwares and production of Iron Rods following President Tinubu’s approval for the resuscitation of the Light Steel Mill section of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant”.

Prince Audu also lauded Bello for ensuring that the right and deserving people were appointed at all helms of affairs, extolling Bello for his wealth of wisdom in successfully governing the state in the past eight years.

“Your Excellency, I congratulate you once again on the appointment of the Ohinoyi of Ebira Land, Alhaji Ahmed Tijani Anaje, and other traditional rulers: the Maigari of Lokoja, Ibrahim Gambo Kabir, the Ohimege-Igu of Koton-Karfe, Saidu Akawo Salisu, and the Maiyaki of Kupa, Dauda Isah.

“I also extol the meticulous selection of the 21 Local Government Caretaker Chairmen and the Members of the State Executive Council, who, as we know, are capable hands,” Audu added.

Gov. Bello commended the Minister for a job well done and delivering on the “Renewed Hope Agenda” of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, urging him to remain focused.

The Governor commended the significant achievements of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR within just eight months, pledging his support to Prince Audu to succeed in his assignment as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“By the grace of God, Ajaokuta will come alive, and the steel industry will boom in the country under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR. He is doing very well. When we met the day before yesterday, we really commended him, and we pointed out so many areas where he has helped us within these seven, eight months. Keep moving, continue to do your work, ignore every form of fake news, remain focused, and avoid every form of distraction. We will continue to support you. Make us proud because Mr. President is sure of us in Kogi State, and we will deliver,” Bello said.

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President Bola Tinubu, on Thursday, at the State House in Abuja, held a meeting with the Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, and the Minister of Defence, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru, during which he received briefing on investment prospects in the steel sector.

The President emphasized that a revitalized steel development industry is both a catalyst for robust economic growth and a doorway to immense opportunities for Nigeria’s massive pool of talented entrepreneurs.

“We will remain unyielding in our determination to build a Nigeria where every citizen has an equal opportunity to prosper and achieve their dreams. New investments in steel production will spur the growth of so many sectors. Industrialization will be a reality in our country with sufficient energy and steel. Nigerian steel will undergird our economy and other economies in our region in future years. I am glad that members of my cabinet have adopted my approach to attracting new investments and job opportunities for our people. Hard work is the only true pathway. We will not relent,” the President stated in a State House press statement by Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity).

The Ministers informed the President of their discussions with a Chinese company, Luan Steel Holding Group, to build a new steel plant in Nigeria, as well as to commence the production of military hardware in Ajaokuta Steel Plant.

A delegation led by the Minister of Defence and the Minister of Steel Development had visited Hefei and Guangzhou regions of China to hold business talks with the Chairman of Luan Steel Holding Group, Mr Wang Jianbing; the Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Mr Xiao Weizhan, and other senior executives of the Luan Steel Holding Group.

The Chinese company is expected to invest billions of dollars in Nigeria to build the new steel plant.

The Minister of Steel Development briefed the President, following his approval to restart the Light Steel Mill (LSM) section of Ajaokuta Steel Complex for the production of iron rods, on the progress made on restarting the section, which will cost N35 billion at the first stage.

The Minister said several financial institutions had already provided offer letters for this transaction and that the project is expected to create up to 5,000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians.

The Minister of Steel Development also informed the President of discussions with the representatives of Jindal Steel Group of India.

Jindal Steel Group had indicated interest in investing up to $5 billion in a new steel plant in Nigeria on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in New Delhi, India, in September, 2023, and is now considering to either acquire existing plants or set up greenfield plants.

According to the Minister, upon the completion of these deals, about $10 billion worth of new investments in both new and existing steel plants in Nigeria will be established, which will create over 500,000 direct and indirect jobs in the steel industry in line with President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda for massive job creation through industrialization.

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