Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Musa Mohammed Sada
By Patrick Ugeh
The original Russian firm that constructed Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, TPE, may take over the company next month, according to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Musa Mohammed Sada.
He disclosed this Tuesday in Abuja, at the Ministerial press briefing to mark the 2012 National Democracy Day and first anniversary of President Goodluck Jonathan in office.
Sada said the original builders of the steel plant had indicated interest to invest in it, pointing out that should the judgement in the case with the former Indian concessionaires, Global Infrastructure Holdings Limited, go in favour of the Federal Government, TPE would get the company and begin the process of modernising and computerising it.
According to him, the ruling in the suit would be given by the end of this month, and if it turned out to be in favour of the Federal Government, President Jonathan would make an important announcement on the new direction of the steel company.
“We may get the ruling on the arbitration by the end of this month,” Sada said: “The initial builders of the plant are still interested. If we get the ruling tomorrow, Mr President will announce a decision on it within one week.”
Lamenting that the company had been privatised three times and failed three times, the minister attributed the failure to the fact that there were no proper guidelines and laws to safeguard the interest of the country.
He said the flaws were being rectified and that henceforth, the Federal Government would take control of the process and ensure that things were done properly.
Already, 90 per cent of the 1.9 million tonnes of liquid steel per year of the steel plant had been completed.
Sada said the government plans to encourage the setting up of smelting industries for metallic ores as well as the export of value added metals and related products.