Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nigeria: Taking Steps to Improve the Economy

Nigeria aims to fully or partially privatise its steel sector within 12 months, the country's new mining and steel minister said on Wednesday.

"We are going back to the drawing board on the whole issue of privatising the steel sector. This is why we are asking interested parties to come in," Musa Sada, who took over the post about a month ago, told Reuters Insider television.

"I think in the next one year we should be looking at a new arrangement - a concession, joint venture or outright takeover," he said on the sidelines of the World Mining Investment Congress.

Nigeria's state-owned steel complex has a capacity of 2.6 million tonnes a year and this will hopefully be boosted to 5.6 million, a Nigerian government official told the conference.

Nigeria is seeking to give more focus to its mineral deposits, which have been largely neglected and overshadowed by the massive oil industry.

The nation is particularly seeking investors for iron ore, planned to feed a renewed steel sector, and coal, which is due to be used in power plants to reduce shortages in electricity supply, Sada said.

"The committee that is working on this (coal for power generation) is directly headed by the president because of the importance he puts on this problem," he told the conference.

- Reuters

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