The Federal Government yesterday said legal encumbrances arising from the decision of the London Court of Arbitration over the ownership of Ajaokuta Steel Complex are still tying down its efforts to concession the plant.
The Nation reports that the Sole Administrator of the complex, Sumaila Abdul-Akaba, told the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy that a 2010 audit report showed that $1.2 billion was required to turn around the moribund steel plant.The amount, he said, included balance of external infrastructure.
INFO AFRIQ learnt the Minister of Solid Mineral Development Dr. Kayode Fayemi told the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, that until all issues that emanated from the position of the London Court of Arbitration were addressed, it would be difficult to put up Ajaokuta Steel Complex for concession.
Fayemi, who spoke at the 2018 budget defence of his ministry, noted that the ministry was working assiduously to bring life back to the moribund steel complex.
The minister was asked when Ajaokuta Steel would be brought back to life.
The Federal Government and Messrs Global Steel Holding Limited, an Indian firm, started negotiations for amicable resolution of the ownership of Ajaokuta Steel Complex in 2008.
Abdul-Akaba gave breakdown of the amount as $513 million for rehabilitation, completion and commissioning while 4687 will be used for balance of external infrastructure.
He appealed to the committee to ensure the total rehabilitation, completion and commissioning of the steel complex describing the plant as viable.
The Sole Administrator also told the committee that by April 55 mw electricity plant installed in the complex would come on stream.
He said there were 10,000 houses in the complex with about 4,000 completed.
Abdul-Akaba assured the committee that machines installed in the complex are first class stressing that “all we need to do is to sort out legal issues surrounding Ajaokuta Steel to bring the plant to run.”
He said the over $10 billion steel imported into the country annually could be save if Ajaokuta was brought on stream.
On what the ministry is doing about lead poisoning especially in Zamfara State, Fayemi said they had constituted a team on lead poisoning jointly with the Ministry of Health.
The minister also said they have blocked the use of mercury which he said leads to lead poisoning.
Fayemi said they are addressing the issue of institutional capacity and infrastructure.
According to him, “For the first time states are also getting 13 per cent derivation due them from solid mineral exploited from their states.
He said that they have constituted mines surveillance task team appointed by the Inspector General of Police.
The minister said: “We also believe that artisan miners should be protected, to create employment in the area and enable the people to benefit.”
It was gathered that the Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe-led committee has concluded arrangements to visit Ajaokuta Steel Complex for first hand information as well as to see how that the National Assembly can facilitate the rolling out of steel complex.