16 November 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Federal Government says its ownership of the Ajaokuta Steel Company was not in doubt and that it will determine, at the appropriate time, what to do with the troubled multi-billion naira project.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Mohammed Abbas, made the disclosure in a statement in Abuja while responding to a recent claim by Dr. S. O. Nwanbuokei, a director of Global Steel Holdings Limited, GSHL – concessionaire of the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited – that the dispute between the Federal Government and GSHL over ownership of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex was yet to be resolved.
Abbas said that government’s position on the matter had been reaffirmed by Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, which, according to him, is that “Ajaokuta Steel Complex belongs to the Federal Government of Nigeria and there is no contention about this fact.”
“His (Nwanbuokei) claims contradict the position of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who reaffirmed the Federal Government’s ownership of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex during the just concluded Nigerian Mining Week, as he had done in similar forums.
“The ministry’s position, as stated by the minister, is that Ajaokuta Steel Complex belongs to the Federal Government of Nigeria and there is no contention about this fact,” the statement read.
It further read: “The Federal Government does not need any mediation to determine its ownership of Ajaokuta Steel Complex as the integrated steel complex has always been the property of the Federal Government.”
Abbas maintained that concession of an asset does not make one lose ownership of the asset, stressing: “It must be stated clearly that concession of an asset does not make one lose the ownership of the asset. In the case of Ajaokuta Steel Complex, the Federal Government remains the actual owner of the asset, while the concession arrangement was in place. This situation has not changed after the entire concession arrangement crumbled”.
According to him, “The position of the government is that having ceded the National Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe to the GSHL for the remaining concession period, as part of the agreement reached during the mediation, government will at the appropriate time take a decision on how best to put Ajaokuta Steel Complex to profitable use.
“This includes engaging a new core investor with proven financial and technical capacity to turn around, complete and run the steel complex profitably. This is still the position of the government.”