The Minister for Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi, gave few reasons why the revival of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL) won’t be an easy task for Federal Government to handle. He spoke about how important it is for FG to clear all legal obstacles surrounding the steel company before it could begin to invest in its resuscitation .
Minister Fayemi stated this while defending the 2016 Budget proposal of the Ministry before the Senate Committee on Power and Steel on Tuesday, 2 February.
He said it would not be in the nation’s interest to leave the complex the way it is, given President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination to see it up and working in the shortest possible time.
Mr. Fayemi decried the trillions of naira spent annually on steel importation into the country and assured that the resolution of the legal issues surrounding the National Steel Industry would be accorded top priority in the year.
The chairman, Senate Committee on Power and Steel, James Manager, said that the development of any nation is tied to a vibrant steel sector.
He urged the minister to inform Nigerians more about Ajaokuta and use publicity to attract interests towards the company.
The senators stressed the need to raise the revenue profile of the agencies under the ministry, tackle the legal challenges around the steel industry, and explore the Public Private Partnership option in getting the sector to be up and running.
Recall that the original Russian builders of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, TyazPromExport, has written a letter to the government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals Development about their readiness to make the steel company functional.
Resuscitation of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited is one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s passionate ‘change mantra’. He is determined not to segment the plants, but to get all sections functioning at once.
A representative of the Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ISSSAN, and Steel and Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria, SEWUN; during an initial visit to the steel plant, said that no nation can attain economic stability, real industrial and technological advancement without massive investment in the steel sector.