FAVOUR SHUAIB, Abuja.
The Sole Administrator, Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, Engr. Isah Joseph Onobere has said that the injection of $400million is paramount to complete the plant abandoned over 23 years ago.
Onobere, an engineer stated this in his statement to participants at the three-day media training workshop for journalists assigned to cover the Mines and Steel sector who were on assessment tour of the complex in Ajaokuta, Kogi State recently.
He lamented that Nigeria imports an average of 60 trillion tonnes worth of steel annually, which according to him, would have been channelled in to other segments of the economy.
He said “the vision 20:2020 economic blue print document even goes beyond the Rolling plan to envisage the actualisation of the third phase of the project 5.2 million tonnes per annum of liquid steel production.
He however, stated that the project has had a history occasioned by an inter play of forces that has made the integrated commissioning of the steel plant elusive till date.
Onobere maintained that there is so much misconception and misinformation about the process route and our steel plant which he noted is borne out of ignorance and some orchestrated campaign columns against the Nigerian state aimed at ensuring we remain a perpetually dumping ground for steel product from the developed nations.
In his words: “Based on the TPE audit , a work schedule spanning 24 months duration and involving the injection of USD 400 million is the chief feature of the rolling steel plant”
He noted that since 1999 when the federal government, owner of the plant stopped funding the completion of the project, the plant was 98% completion status. The rolling plant for the third decade running, remains tailored towards the reactivation , completion and commissioning of the first three phase of the project of 1.3 million tonnes per annum.
However, he assured that the first phase of the company will provide 500,000 upstream and downstream employment for the Nigerian citizens when it becomes operational adding that government has started committing resources towards the maintenance and preservation of the equipment and facilitation of the plant calling for improve effort.
According to him, government is considering the report on various options on the way forward for the completion of the project. These options he said include outright sales, concessioning and joint venture of Ajaokuta Steel.
He,however, denied rumour about the company equipment being obsolete, adding that the complex with 98 per cent completion could stand the test of time and that all its equipment are functioning appropriately.
For a better society