Unions want National Assembly to stand up for Ajaokuta

Ajaokuta Steel Complex

Ajaokuta Steel Complex

Eluonye Konyegwuaehi

05 March 2015,  Sweetcrude, Lagos – STEEL and Engineering Workers of Nigeria (SEWUN) and its Iron Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ISSSAN), has called on the National Assembly to champion the drive to complete the Ajaokuta Steel Plant because of its immeasurable benefits to the nation especially in this period of falling crude of prices.

The two unions faulted perceived calculated attempts by individuals and groups with foreign interest to run down the plant and ensure Nigeria did not join the league of steel manufacturing giants, to the detriment of the economic development of the country.

Speaking on behalf of SEWUN and ISSSAN, President of ISSSAN, Mr. Otori Saliu Maliki, recalled alleged unfounded claims by the Chairman of the Board of Assets Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, Alhaji Kola Belgore on September 1, 2014, that the federal government was wasting N3.4 Billion monthly to pay workers of Ajaokuta Steel Complex, ASC, in Kogi State, for doing nothing.

According to the unions, this strange claims was contrary to the fact that what was captured in the 2014 appropriation Act for ASC, was N3,821,718,510.00 for a year for personnel cost, asking “where did Belgore get his figure from?”

The unions lamented that less than five months after, “the event from the floor of the House of Representatives and a civil society group on the same matter, we became convinced that our Briton wood detractors are still in action and we are determined to expose them.”

Otori contended that all these were coming when there were realistic and concrete efforts by the workers at keeping the plant facilities intact and serviceable as well the ongoing rehabilitation works on the light section Mill and the Thermal Power plant preparation for operation.

According to him, “the fact of the matter is that the salaries of workers of ASC is paid by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation through the Integrated Payroll Payment System, IPPIS, and no single kobo comes to the coffers of ASC account for personnel emoluments. We all know that national budget has procedures and the company followed this due process and was appropriately captured in the national budget through the National Assembly. To set the records straight, the 2014 Personnel Cost for AC as reflected in the Budget Documents was N3, 821,718,510.00. The Appropriation Committee approved N3, 821,718,510.00 for 12 calendar Months of 2014 for Personnel Cost for ASC. What was captured in the 2014 appropriation Act for ASC, was N3, 821,718,510.00 for 12 calendar months of 2014 for Personnel Cost for ASC.

ISSSAN President insisted that those deliberately falsifying information about ASC to permanently kill the company were not only causing harms to the institution, but also were agents of the Breton Institutions determined to undermine the growth and development of Nigeria.

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