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Nigeria government turns to 60 Russian experts to revive Ajaokuta Steel

Hope rises for the moribund Ajaokuta Steel company, as Olamilekan Adegbite, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development says a 60-man team from Russia will soon arrive in Nigeria to start a Technical Audit of Ajaokuta steel.

Adegbite disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja.

He said that the Russian government had nominated TYAZHPROMEXPORT (TPE), a Russian company, the original builder of Ajaokuta steel to conduct technical audits of the steel company to ascertain the level of work to be completed.

“The original builder of Ajaokuta steel TPE is coming with the 60-man team to Nigeria to commence an audit report of the company.

”I am in contact with them, we are making arrangements for their coming in line with COVID-19 protocol established in Nigeria.

“They will go through Nigerian protocol on COVID-19 when they arrive,” he said.

Accord to revive Ajaokuta Steel Company was reached during a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Vladimir Putin in Russia in 2019.

The foundation laying of Ajaokuta steel company was conducted in 1980 by late President Shehu Shagari and within four years, the company recorded 84 percent completion.

The steel company that is located on 24,000 hectares of the sprawling green-field landmass is built on 800 hectares of land over three decades ago.

Ajaokuta steel reached 98 percent completion as far back in 1994 and has not produced a single iron to date.

On improving the sector, the minister said that the ministry had commenced the process of reviewing the mining law.

“The law that controls mining is 2007 but we are at the process of reviewing it.”

He said that some physical incentives for attracting miners to invest in Nigeria include import duty waiver for all mining equipment.

Others are tax holiday for foreign miners, three years with a possible extension to years and low royalty from three to five percent compare to some countries that charge 20 percent royalty and among others.

“These are parts of incentive put in place to attract foreign mining investors; these same incentives are also applicable to local miners,’’ the minister said.

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