FG seeks alternative means to complete Ajaokuta Steel Company

By The Citizen

The Federal Government said it had started to look for alternative ways of funding the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Company in Kogi.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Femi Jegede, made the disclosure in Ajaokuta on Tuesday.

Jegede, who spoke during a tour of the company, said its completion and inauguration was on the top agenda of government and would be pursued to a logical conclusion.

He described the steel complex as a huge investment in which the government had already sunk  $5billion.

The permanent secretary said that its completion was critical to the attainment of the industrial and economic growth of the country.

Jegede commended the management and staff of the steel firm for the high level of maintenance of the facilities at the company.

He added that the machines and other equipment were still intact in spite of being out of use in past couple of years.

Jegede said the ministry was already taking steps to complete the light mill section and other small segments as soon as possible so that the company could resume operation.

He commended the workers for their enthusiasm and positive attitude to work, explaining that it was rare in the country today   to come by a set of dutiful and patriotic workforce as those in the complex..

The Sole Administrator of the company, Mr Joseph Isah, appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan and his economic team to come and see plant before deciding on its privatisation.

'The saying that seeing is believing is very apt at this threshold of resuscitating Ajaokuta Steel Plant,' Isah said.

Since coming into office in November 2012, Isah said that he had taken some steps to preserve the plant by entering into discussions and agreements with six private companies.

According to him, the investors have agreed to bring in the needed spare parts and technical assistants for the rehabilitation and operation of the completed units of the steel plant.

Isah said the move would not only generate employment opportunities but would also guarantee regular revenue generation for the government.

He, however, listed inadequate funding, especially capital and overheads and lack of infrastructure necessary for the inauguration of the steel plant, as its major challenges. NAN