By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
In its determination to address issues in the country’s steel Industry, the Federal Government is set to resuscitate the ailing Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL), the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, (BPE), Mr Alex Okoh has disclosed.
According to him, the government is desirous to achieve this through a robust framework that will drive and guide the process for the revitalisation of ASCL and the steel industry in general.
Okoh said n line with government’s desire to concession ASCL, he led a team of key stakeholders including the Chairman House Committee on Steel Hon. Abdullahi Ibrahim, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, Imeh Okon on a recent fact finding visit to the steel complex.
A statement by BPE Head of Public Communication, Amina Othman in Abuja on Wednesday, said “the main objective of the visit was to ensure the country taps into the potential of the steel sector to transform the Nigerian economy.
“Other objectives of the visit were to avail members the opportunity to physically inspect the complex in order to appreciate the quantum of investments made; meet with the management and obtain the management’s option(s) on the issues that affect the plant with the view to enriching the strategy to be adopted for resuscitating the complex”, it added.
According to the statement, at the meeting with the management of the ASCL, Okoh emphasized the willingness of President Muhammadu Administration to resolve the on-going legal issues between the Federal government and Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited (GINL).
The DG who stated that the government was desirous to see that ASCL was completed and made operational, also solicited the support of the National Assembly, Management of ASCL and other stakeholders in achieving the goal under this Administration.
Some of the plants and other facilities visited included, Steel Making Plant (Blast Furnace), Light Section Mill, Wire Rod Mill, Medium Section & Structural Mill, Thermal Power Plant, Lime Plant, Machine/Tools Shop , Water In-take Plant, Rail tracks, Road networks.
The Team verified and confirmed the Management’s claim that many of the machines in the respective units were in a good condition and would only require minor repairs to operate effectively. Additionally, the Team observed that the status of the ASCL plant was not as dilapidated as assumed generally, but that the plant was rather in a reasonably operational state.
The Team commended the Management of ASCL for maintaining the complex and for using the available internal resources with little external assistance to conduct a technical audit in February 2018 which would assist the government in fashioning out the way forward.
The Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) had given approval for the conduct of the comprehensive technical audit by ASCL Engineers, Technologist, technicians, Craftsmen and other associated professionals, assisted by two (2) Ukrainian consultants and two (2) Engineers assigned by the President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. The Technical Audit was carried out to determine the plant’s integrity and level of completion of the independent units.
The Visiting Team and the ASCL Management agreed to work together along with other stakeholders for the realization of the Ajaokuta dream which was in line with the present government’s desire to see to its resuscitation and sustained operations given its strategic role for the development of the Nigerian economy.