By Shalom Kasim
In the wake of recent scandals involving the Ministries of Humanitarian Affairs and Interior, a looming potential risk emerges with the Ministry of Steel Development. While there’s no current evidence of malfeasance within the steel sector, the prospect of this key ministry collaborating with counterparts under investigation raises significant concerns about the integrity of the government’s economic agenda.
President Tinubu’s vision for a revitalized steel development industry as a catalyst for economic growth (as earlier announced by his singing bird) is commendable. However, the timing of the Ministry of Steel Development’s involvement, amidst ongoing scandals, demands a closer examination of the potential risks that could unfold.
As the government pursues partnerships with foreign companies, such as the Chinese Luan Steel Holding Group and the Indian Jindal Steel Group, the influx of billions of dollars into Nigeria’s steel sector presents both opportunities and dangers. The lack of transparency and accountability in the Ministries of Humanitarian Affairs and ‘ Interior serves as a warning that we should not act deaf to, emphasizing the urgent need for robust oversight mechanisms in the steel industry.
The collaboration between these ministries, tainted by allegations of financial impropriety, poses a threat to the very economic growth the government aims to achieve. The potential for corruption, embezzlement, and mismanagement of funds in the steel sector could jeopardize not only foreign investments but also the livelihoods of thousands of Nigerians who stand to benefit from job opportunities in this critical industry.
Nigerians must remain vigilant and demand proactive measures to safeguard the Ministry of Steel Development from succumbing to the pitfalls witnessed in other government departments. President Tinubu’s commitment to transparency and accountability should extend to the steel sector, ensuring that every dollar invested contributes to the nation’s economic growth rather than lining the pockets of a select few.
While the Ministry of Steel Development may currently be free from scandal, the risks lie in its collaboration with tainted counterparts. As citizens, we cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the potential dangers that may lurk beneath the surface. Let this serve as a warning, urging the government to implement stringent measures to protect the nation’s economic interests and restore public confidence in the face of ongoing challenges.
We are not pessimists. We are just Nigerians who knows their country.
Kasim is a public affairs commentator, a poet and a journalist. He writes from Wukari, Taraba state, Middle Belt Nigeria.