James Emejo in Abuja
The Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria, Valeriy Aleksandruk, has revealed his country’s readiness to invest $1 billion towards the resuscitation of the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company.
Speaking in Abuja during a courtesy call on the acting Director General of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Dr. Vincent Akporaire, the envoy added that the Ukrainian company that built the plant, Tiajpromexport (TPE), had already made a proposal to the federal government on its willingness to revive the plant.
He said the steel complex has a lot of potential which Ukraine wanted to take advantage of, adding that meetings had already been held with relevant stakeholders in Nigeria for the realisation of the planned takeover of the plant.
Aleksandruk said Ukraine has a good relationship with Nigeria, especially in economic and trade investments, noting that there is a big Nigerian community in Ukraine.
The ambassador further noted that Ukraine was ready to “open a new page in its relationship with Nigeria,” and pledged to assist the BPE in its training needs to become a foremost privatisation agency in Africa.
Nevertheless, the acting BPE boss said he would review the proposal by the Ukrainian Government and that of Morgan Stanley, the multinational financial services firm that would provide the $1billion investment before taking the next steps.
He added that the federal government was desirous to get the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited and the Nigerian Iron Ore Mill Company (NIOMCO), Itakpe, back on their feet.
In a statement by BPE spokesman, Alex Okoh, Akpotaire, however, urged the Ukrainian government to invest in other sectors of the Nigerian economy, especially in developing the downstream of the steel sector that would service several sectors including the automobile sector.