By Kehinde Lawal
Aarti Steel Nigeria, a steel manufacturing company has called for the sustenance of the ban on galvanised corrugated roofing sheets and steels.
This, according to the firm is to enable local manufacturers thrive in their business.
The company, which completed a cold-rolled mill in Ota, Ogun State last year, with a capacity that produces 120,000 tonnes of products per annum, decried the challenges of cheap and substandard products being imported into the country.
According the Group’s Vice Chairman, Aarti Steel Nigeria, Aniket Singal, who spoke at a customers’ forum held in Lagos, yesterday, the mill, which cost between $20 and $30 million to complete, became operational in March last year and was expected to serve the downstream steel makers in Nigeria.
Apart from creating hundreds of jobs in the economy, he said the mill would reduce dependence on importation and support the government’s vision of making Nigeria a steel-producing country.
Singal said the company’s capacity utilisation, which currently stands at between 30 to 40 per cent, would soon hit 70 to 80 per cent as raw materials start getting back to the factory.
“Sub-standard products had severe effects on production and pricing. Lack of patronising local products kills the development of most companies in Nigeria.
“Aarti is expanding its export expansion programme, as it plans to exploit opportunities in Central Africa, Ivory Coast, Benin and other parts of the continent in order to earn more foreign exchange for the Nigerian economy.”
Also speaking at the event, the Group Executive Director, Mr. Keshav Sharma, assured the customers that challenges faced last year, such as inconsistency of supply, low customers patronage would be sorted out.”
He said Aarti was making more investment in Nigeria and expanding its footprint in other parts of Africa, adding that the company was set to compete favourably in terms of pricing.
“One good thing about our products is that they have high quality. We want to continue to be the leader in the market and make our price favourably to Nigerians” he stated.