The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arch. Olamilekan Adegbite, has said some sections of the Ajaokuta Steel Company will work before the end of the year. The minister said this when he received the Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, Alexey Shebarshir in his office.
A statement from the ministry yesterday quoted Adegbite as saying that the Federal Government is working round the clock to ensure that some sections of the company start production before the end of the year.
“The federal government will revitalize the Ajaokuta Steel Company to produce optimally,” Adegbite said. The minister pointed out that government did not deliberately abandon the company but that due to some legal encumbrances, it has not been producing optimally. He said government has been expending huge amounts of money to ensure that the assets at the company are not vandalized.
He assured the Russian ambassador of government’s readiness to welcome any collaboration aimed at revitalising the steel industry to operate in full capacity. The minister said the plan on ground is to engage relevant companies on meaningful discussions with a view to employing strategic approaches on the best ways to reinvigorate the Ajaokuta Steel into full production so as a achieve the vision of making it the hub of industrialization not only to Nigeria but Africa at large.
The Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, Alexey Shebarshir, said his country is ready to partner with Nigeria in resuscitating Ajaokuta Steel Company, especially in the areas of rebuilding infrastructure and overhauling of the plant. He emphasised on the need for the Federal Government to protect the private investors who are interested in turning around the company for maximum production.
The Russian Deputy Head of Mission, Trade and Economic Affairs, Valery Shaposhnikov, said they have carried out on the spot analysis of the challenges militating against smooth operation of the company. Shaposhnikov reiterated his country’s readiness to harness the potentials of steel in providing the necessary equipment for the industrialization of the country.