AIG: Touching Lives, Boosting Local Economies With Critical Investments

June 15, 2024

AIG: Touching Lives, Boosting Local Economies With Critical Investments

AIG: Touching Lives, Boosting Local Economies with Critical Investments

Gujeni, a rural community in Kagarko Local Government Area of Kaduna State is one of many communities across Nigeria that could only be seen from the prism of dereliction characterised by poor road networks, run-down social infrastructure, dearth of health facilities, among many other unsavoury narratives.

This was also the narrative about Odagbo and adjoining communities in Ankpa Local Government of Kogi State, and many others across the country until African Industries Group (AIG) birthed their operations in their domain.

Within a few years, these communities have become a model for sustainable development, attracting visitors and investors from across the country, courtesy of the life-touching investments of AIG in their communities.

In Gujeni for instance, AIG, through its mining and processing plant, African Natural Resources and Mines Limited (ANRML), has constructed and repaired the road connecting Gujeni A, Gujeni B and other small hamlets directly to Abuja-Kaduna Expressway using equipment and laterite from its mines.

As at the last count, a total 5.5 km roads have been repaired in Gujeni that have improved accessibility.

AIG’s $600m Iron Ore mining and processing project in collaboration with Kaduna State Government has been at the back end of the delivery of improved healthcare to the people.

Within the last one year, the group has donated varied quantities of medical aids including medicines and other commodities, food items, and other life-enhancing commodities to various categories of people in the community.

The, hitherto, rustic Odagbo-Okaba village in Ankpa, Kogi State have also received similar touches by AIG, whose another affiliate company has constructed and repaired the road passing through the village using in-house equipment and laterite. So far, a total of 7km roads have been repaired in the Odagbo, Okaba, Ofano and Ofano Ogane communities.

This is, as the Group has also drilled Industrial borewell with overhead tanks and tap facilities for household usage in Ofano and Odagbo-Ojuwo communities.

The group renovated the Local Government Primary School building for Ihunsa Community in Igere, Ogun State and also the Odagbo Community School in Ankpa LGA, Kogi state.

AIG’s Chairman, Mr Raj Gupta, who spoke on the reasons behind the Group’s huge investments in social interventions in their host communities, said, “We realised since we started doing business in Nigeria over five decades ago that investing in our host communities through basic infrastructure and helping to make the population healthier is a win-win for the community, the country and us.”

In summary, he said, annually AIG spends over N2billion on Social Impact projects and interventions. He said the Group has so far supported over 20 Charity organisations and undertaken more than 100 health initiatives, including the donation of 2,000 Oxygen cylinders to various government agencies across various states during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our organisations have touched not less than 50,000 families in various communities, empowering over 25,000 women along the line,” he said.

According to Gupta, the decision to host these life-saving interventions across the country by AIG is strategic, as it aligns with the group’s core values.

“AIG runs a business strategy that is inclusive and sustainable, for which the people and communities that we operate within are key,” Gupta said in an interview, adding also that this does not only benefit stakeholders but also positively impact the environment and society.

African Industries Group, a diversified global conglomerate with a 52-year business legacy that cuts across Nigeria and other parts of Africa, has more than 10,000 employees offering products and services through 11 business verticals.

With headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, the group has been contributing to Nigeria’s socio-economic growth and industrial development in diverse ways that could not be ignored.

“We are ardently committed to nurturing and development of the local environment, beginning from our contiguous communities. This, we strive to do by conducting various social impact activities, which we have been involved in for years under three main areas, namely, Community Development, Health and Hygiene and Women Empowerment,” Mr. Gupta said.

He said the Group has set up series of sustainability initiatives that are helping to improve the human capacity of the members of their host communities.

In this regard, he said “AIG has established a multipurpose Training and Development Center for carrying out various trainings related to safety, environment, job skills and administrative skills to be transferred to the National workforce as part of Local Talent Development Initiative.”

The group has also installed a fully automatic Organic Compost Machine to convert food and organic waste into organic manure.

AIG’s strides have surely not gone unnoticed, as the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr. Dele Alake, has hailed the group’s affiliate, ANRML, for observing absolute regulatory compliance that has added value to its steel production operations.

Alake, who gave the commendation during a visit to ANRML at Gujeni, Kagarko Local Government Area of Kaduna State, along with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite, expressed happiness over the development, saying, “the company has obeyed our admonition and in concrete terms.”

Alake, had, in the previous week given some prerequisite conditions for the issuance and re-issuance of mining license to any firm willing to operate in the nation’s solid minerals sector.

The Minister said the ANRML is now a living testimony and example of compliance with the directive, urging other operators in the sector and other prospective investors to emulate them.

“I made the point that we will no longer licence any company that want to engage in our mining sector without any concrete plan for local value addition. Today, here is a company that has obeyed our admonition and in concrete terms, shown the whole world what local value addition means,” Alake said.

Continuing, he said, “It is not just to mine our iron ore and export, but they are going to process and refine it here. So, I am happy that we have an example to show to the rest of the companies that are in Nigeria’s minerals sector.

“This is a company that is worthy of emulation and I commend the firm for this remarkable achievement.”

The firm also got similar rating from the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite, who commended the group and the company for making efforts to galvanize the nation’s steel sector.

She said her Ministry’s industrial revitalisation plan has positioned the steel sector as a paramount sector that would receive attention being the catalyst of industrialization and national development.

Earlier, the Group Managing Director (GMD), African Industries Group, Alok Gupta had assured that the company would use its operations to position Nigeria as a global steel producing giant based on the country’s rich natural resource wealth.

Gupta described Nigeria as a nation of limitless potential, disclosing that AIG’s ANRML alone has a mining capacity of over 5 million tonnes per annum.

“Nigeria, is a nation of strength, resilience and limitless potential. The country is blessed with abundant natural resources. We have a mining capacity of over 5 million tonnes per annum. The Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) produced here will be a direct substitute for ferrous scrap currently used as raw material for producing steel in Nigeria,” Gupta said.

He also disclosed that AIG’s Iron ore mining and processing plant is Nigeria’s largest non-oil Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and marks a significant stride in the direction of utilizing it to make real wealth for Nigeria. It will also gradually position Nigeria as a prominent Crude Steel producer globally,” he added.

The AIG’s Chairman also disclosed that the group has created direct and indirect employment for thousands of Nigerians since it was established in 1971 in the country.

He further stated and affirmed the Federal Government’s efforts and commitment to drastically reduce the huge importation of steel products into the country annually, and bent on promoting and boosting local production of steel in order to conserve foreign exchange and ensure the steel sector contributes significantly to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

AIG has about 35 state-of-the-art manufacturing plants and facilities located in various locations across Nigeria, creating employment opportunities for thousands of Nigerians, and ancillary employment for many more.

With over five decades of responsible business practices, the Group has evolved into a driving force in various sectors like Iron and steel manufacturing, power generation, agricultural products, steel processing, building materials, plywood and allied products, logistics and shipping, lead products, cans manufacturing, refractories products, industrial glass, other construction materials, and more recently, mining and processing, aluminum products, renewable energy like solar energy and is also now venturing into CNG.