Aba, Nnewi industrialists can compete with China — Orji Kalu

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Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, representing Abia North in the National Assembly, has expressed confidence in the manufacturing prowess of industrialists in Aba and Nnewi. He believes they have the potential to make Nigeria self-sufficient by producing a wide range of goods currently imported.

Kalu, a former governor of Abia, suggests that the naira’s depreciation could be reversed if the government revives the numerous dormant projects across the country, estimated to be over 11,886.

While discussing a motion initiated by Senator Jimoh Ibrahim Folorunsho (Ondo South) on the urgent need to address the issue of these abandoned mega projects, Kalu highlighted the impact of the non-operational Ajaokuta Steel Plant in Kogi State. He lamented that this has significantly hampered the manufacturing capabilities of industrialists in Aba and Nnewi.

Kalu pointed out that many products consumed in Nigeria, including solar lighting and panels, are manufactured in Aba and Nnewi. He asserted that these industrialists could produce goods currently imported from countries like China and Vietnam if they had access to local raw materials, particularly steel.

As the chairman of the Senate Committee on Privatisation, Kalu proposed that the Tinubu administration should allocate an entire year’s budget to revive these abandoned projects.

He argued that Nigeria’s industrialisation would remain a dream without the revival of Ajaokuta and other steel mills across the country. He urged the nation to face the reality that prioritising the revival of these industries could alleviate poverty and kickstart Nigeria’s industrial revolution.

Kalu questioned why Aba and Nnewi couldn’t serve as Nigeria’s manufacturing hubs, similar to China’s role globally. He emphasized that with access to steel, there would be no product made in China that couldn’t be produced in Aba.

Senator Jimoh Ibrahim, the sponsor of the motion, informed the Senate that the existence of the 11,886 moribund projects was discovered in 2011 by a Presidential committee established by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

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