ENGINEERS DECRY STATE OF AJAOKUTA STEEL
As President Goodluck Jonathan moves to constitute his cabinet for another tenure, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), at the weekend, while decrying the state of the Ajaokuta Steel project, told Jonathan to complete the project that was 98 per cent completed since early 1990s.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja on what he called 'The Route to Prosperity and Progress', the president of the NSE, Chief Olumuyiwa Alade Ajibola, also regretted that Delta Steel project, which was completed in the early 1980s, is suffering from lack of completion of rail line to bring iron ore from Itakpe to Aladja. He advised President to ensure that the flat sheet project be concluded for the use of the budding automobile industry noting that other steel rolling mills that had been privatized, but not functional, need to be looked into to make them operational.
'In view of the extensive national assets in this industry, the steel sector clearly needs a new approach in creatively engaging the private sector in a commercial partnership that is designed to work. Substantial human resources to achieve this abound in our country, many of whom are members of the NSE,' he suggested.
In the view of Ajibola, the next four years of President Goodluck Jonathan should be revolutionary, both in governance and business.
In this connection, he said that the rebirth in the entertainment industry, communications, banking and other industries should be replicated in the infrastructure and other economic sectors, and sustained.
'Clearly, the time is ripe or even overdue for similar revolution in the government/public sector,' he stated.
On oil and gas, NSE president urged Jonathan to be steadfast in putting in place measures that will increase the daily crude oil production capacity from the current level to four million barrels per day towards achieving the nation's vision of being one of the 20 largest economies of the world by 2020. NSE also urged the president to expedite the review and passage of the petroleum industry bill and usher a state-of-the-industry Petroleum Act,
'It is recalled that in the past, Nigeria was a petroleum products exporter. The president should not relent on generating policies that would speed up realization of major oil companies and national oil company having to refine their production locally and exporting surplus petroleum products, and providing enabling atmosphere and incentives for new licences to begin production,' he said.
Ajibola observed that in the past, some private companies were given licences to refine petroleum products. He wondered why the private refineries have not taken off.