25 July 2014, Abuja – The National Council on Privatisation’s fact-finding committee on the Aluminium Smelting Company of Nigeria has said that the allegation of asset stripping against UC Rusal, owners of the company, is false.
Speaking after an assessment tour of the multi-million naira plant in Ikot-Abasi, Akwa Ibom State, the Chairman of the committee, Mr. Emmanuel Amadi, said what was construed as asset stripping was the disposal of scraps, non-liquid assets, faulty and inactive equipment and their parts by UC Rusal.
He named the parts disposed by Rusal to include spent anode butts, anode stems and yokes, aluminium metal pads, cathode and anode busbar, coke and pitch for anode production, and cathode bars.
A statement issued by the Head of Public Communications, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mr. Chigbo Anichebe, on Thursday added that ALSCON’s machines and structures were intact.
Amadi, who led two other members of the committee, Mohammed Abubakar and Benson Upah, on the visit, expressed displeasure over the closure of the plant and urged the management to quickly develop and submit to the government a business plan with timelines to keep the plant functional.
He called for industrial harmony between the management of ALSCON and the workers, the absence of which he noted could jeopardise smooth operations of the company.
While appealing to the management of the company to reconsider recalling some of the sacked union officials, Amadi said the committee would immediately present the report of its findings to the NCP, which is expected to take the next action.
Earlier, the Managing Director, UC Rusal, Mr. Dmitriy Zaviyalov, had informed the committee members that the falling prices of aluminium metals in the global market and lack of gas supply to the company were hampering the operations of the plant.
He said between 2007 and 2012, Rusal invested N24.54bn in the plant, but due to teething problems, it suspended production in March 2013.
Zaviyalov added that since the takeover, UC Rusal had utilised only 11 per cent of the plant’s production capacity and that during the period, it experienced six disruptions of gas supply.
– The Punch