17 December 2015, Lagos – The Federal Government will soon unfold its blueprint for the rehabilitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Company and the National Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe, in Kogi State.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this after inspecting facilities at the two companies.
Fayemi said the government’s position had become imperative due to the dwindling revenue from the oil and gas sector.
The minister added that the government would come up with a realistic position that would enable it turn the steel sector into a viable sector and lay the foundation for the future industrialisation of the country.
Fayemi, who was accompanied on the tour by the Minister of State in the ministry, Mr. Abubakar Bwari, said the government had obtained necessary information on the two companies from relevant stakeholders.
He added that the tour was to confirm the information and facts at the disposal of the government.
The minister said, “Our mission is to ensure that this plant works. The methodology to achieve this will be informed by what we see on ground and the facts at our disposal.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has not formed an impression yet. He is looking at many ways before taking a decision on the basis of our findings and reports to him.”
Fayemi said the government was studying the experiences of some steel producing countries with a view to charting a way forward for Nigeria.
“We are studying how these countries succeeded in building several plants many years after we started our own. We are looking at what they did right and what we did wrong to find ourselves at the present situation,”
He expressed optimism that the plants would work.
Fayemi, Bwari and other top officials of the ministry were conducted round the 43 units of the Ajaokuta steel complex.
The Sole Administrator, Ajaokuta Steel Company, Mr. Isah Onobere, listed four possible options for the company and how the government could lay a solid foundation for the country’s economic development.
Onobere urged the government to call for the expression of interest from experts for the rehabilitation, completion and inauguration of the steel plant to avoid further deterioration of its equipment and facilities.
At Itakpe, the Sole Administrator, NIOMCO, Alhaji Yau Ibrahim, urged the ministers to assist in the completion of some ongoing projects critical to the survival of the plant.