Rehabilitating the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited is expected to gulp over $1.5 billion, as the government targets production of steel from the project in the next three years.
Sumaila Abdul- Akaba, sole administrator, of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, disclosed this during a tour of the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCOL) in Kogi State.
Abdul-Akaba who explained that proper evaluation was required on the project, stated that, “previously we were looking at $1 billion to $1.5 billion for the resuscitation of the project, but we want to reevaluate the project. There is going to be reevaluation, auditing and more people are coming to ensure we get the best of all these.
“Unlike the thinking of so many people, Ajaokuta is not obsolete but only requires the right attention to get the multi-billion dollar running again.”
In his remarks, Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, minister of Steel Development disclosed that his administration has developed a three-year plan for the resuscitation of the company, in furtherance to president Tinubu’s mandate of job creation, diversification of the economy as well as attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
According to Audu, efforts were ongoing to ensure the production of steel from the project under the three-year plan. This according to him will create over 500,000 jobs for Nigerians.
“We want to thank the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu for having the vision to create a Steel Development Ministry. Over the past 40 years, we had the largest Steel Plant in Nigeria and one of the largest in West Africa which has not functioned but the President knows that in other to industrialize Nigeria, we have to get the steel industry working.
“In line with the 8-point agenda of the ‘Renewed Hope mantra’ of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, one of the key elements are job creation, diversification of the economy and attracting Foreign Direct Investment. If we can revitalize Ajaokuta, it will help us achieve this. This key point agenda will also help us eradicate poverty.
“To achieve this, we have put together two documents. A three-year plan for the revival of Ajaokuta Steel Company which will have a small and medium-term plan.
“Part of the things is the roadmap to designate the 24,000 hectares land of Ajaokuta an Industrial Park, to create a Free Trade Zone that will further attract Foreign Direct Investment.
“My job is to try and ensure that all those typical issues that have held the plant from producing will be resolved. And by the first term of this administration, if we can produce some sheet of steel, it will be a significant achievement.
“I have taken an extensive tour of the complex and plants, and there are lots of opportunities that if we can unlock we will be able to create over 500,000 jobs which will benefit kites but more importantly, Nigerians. This will also guarantee that everyone benefits from the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, “ Audu said.
Audu further disclosed that he was on the tour with potential foreign investors and experts who have shown interest in bringing FDI to unlock the sector’s potential.
According to him, the investors are expected to carry out an advanced technical audit of the steel complex and its facilities to see what more is to be done.
“We have the Russians, Americans, Arabs and Chinese who are showing interest. They have come to show their desire to carry out an advanced technical audit to see what needs to be completed.
“After my findings from here, we will forward everything to Mr President for his approval,” Audu said.
He also hinted at a five-year plan which would ensure the production of steel in other parts of the country.
Jalil Hkoodshoev, a foreign investor from Novostal-M Company in Russia who showed interest in the company, said that the resuscitation of the company would have a big impact not only on Nigeria but the entire West Africa, and the African region.
“I assisted His Excellency with this trip to Ajaokuta, I am mesmerized by the size of the plant. It is amazing and I think that the initiatives that have been taken by the President of Nigeria will have a big impact not only for Nigeria but all the sub-region and all of Africa.
“I hope that in the next couple of years, we can participate also as partners of the government for this project, and for the steel business,” Hkoodshoev said.