…says FG ‘ll no longer spend money on steel Complex
By Emman Ovuakporie
The Minister of Mines and Steel, Adegbite Olamilekan on Thursday said between $650milion to $1billion to complete phase one of the Ajaokuta Steel Company.
The minister also stated that Federal Government will no longer commit funds into the Ajaokuta Steel with a view to remaining two per cent of Phase 1 that could enable the taking off of operation in the complex.
Adegbite, disclosed the government’s position while addressing members of the House of Representatives Committee on Steel in Abuja on Thursday.
He said: “I will say something about Ajaokuta. Mr President has made it abundantly clear that Nigeria will no longer put a penny of its money into completing the Ajaokuta Steel. We’ve been down that road before, and the President doesn’t want to commit any more funds”.
“So we are open to other options, and that’s why we’re facing and talking with the Russians who are willing to commit their money.
“Different figures have been bandied around regarding how much is needed to complete the complex. But we must understand that Ajaokuta was designed to come up in phases.
“The figures range from $400m to $550m, but what’s needed to complete the phase one is between $650m to $1billion”, the Minister said.
Asegbite explained further that Ajaokuta was designed by the Russians and built by the Ukrainians who were also part of the Soviet Union at that time.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon Abdulahi Halims said” we all know that Nigeria is an export dependent economy in terms of generating revenue, particularly foreign exchange and the development of steel is very sancrosanct to the diversification of our economy from oil.
“It’s this realisation that will guide our zeal to work harmoniously to ensure a vibrant economy through the development of steel.
Recall that the House of Representatives in the 8th Assembly moved to pass a Bill to ensure speedy completion of the complex.