Nigeria’s mineral wealth of nickel, chromium and molybdenum is positioning the country as an “investment and foreign exchange haven”, according to Stainless Steel Importers, Installers and Sellers Association of Nigeria (Sisan) director-general Timothy Onwughai.
He discussed Nigeria’s potential stainless steel use as a future driver of economic development for the country during the thirty-third edition of the International Chrome Development Association’s Chromium 2017 conference, which was held in Rosebank, Johannesburg, last month.
“Mining minerals and stainless steel production are catalysts in the economic and industrial development of Nigeria,” highlighted Onwughai, adding that doing so would create wealth and “millions of jobs”.
However, he pointed out that Nigeria was not currently producing stainless steel, which led to the establishment of the Stainless Steel Development Association of Nigeria (SSDAN) in 2014, setting the stage for the development and growth of a leading regional stainless steel industry. “The association is working tirelessly towards initiating local production of stainless steel . . . making Nigeria a promising stainless steel production hub in Africa.”
The association’s primary objective is to promote the stainless steel industry to the general public, users, the media and investors. It aimed to initiate stainless steel production in Nigeria, as well as to use and reuse stainless steel in an eco- friendly manner, Onwughai said. The SSDAN also aims to educate users about the use and benefits of stainless steel, in addition to working closely and effectively with relevant role-players in the public and private sectors.
Despite an African market share of only 11%, Nigeria had a large, profitable and fast-growing stainless steel market, tapped from a population of about 200-million people, noted Onwughai.
However, stainless steel imports increased 100%, from 26 400 t in 2015 to 52 800 t in 2016, with 71% stemming from China, 14% from Europe, 6% from India and 9% from other countries.
Onwughai stated that the large Nigerian stainless steel market was “very attractive”, with “no entry barriers”.
According to recent findings by Sisan, the Nigerian stainless steel industry produced a yearly turnover of $16.6-million at the end of 2016, Onwughai said.