Stakeholders have called for the revitalisation of Nigeria’s iron and steel sector to boost the industrialisation of the country.
Dr. Muhammad Sanusi, the Secretary-General of African Iron and Steel Association (AISA), said the Federal Government should engage credible organisations in Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) to revitalise steel companies in the country.
Sanusi said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that such partnership was necessary to establish a strong industrial base for the country.
“We have been proffering a number of options to the government and the government has its own advisers, advising it on what to do . Eventually, the government decided on the PPP arrangement and I think is a good one, provided the government is serious about seeking partners from reliable and authentic steel experts,’’ he said.
Sanusi said that it was unfortunate that some of those who had been involved in such arrangements in the past had not been sincere in the implementation of the agreements.
He said some of the partners destroyed equipment in some of the plants, including those in Ajaokuta Steel Company in Kogi. The secretary-general said that the involvement of the private sector in the industry began in 2003 when the Federal Government invited Solgas Company to run Ajaokuta Steel Company.
He said that Solgas claimed to have three million Dollars to rehabilitate the firm as well as technical and managerial ability to run it. Sanusi said it was later found that the company’s claims were false. He said after the disengagement of Solgas, the Federal Government entered into another agreement with an Indian company – the Global Infrastructure Nigeria Ltd – which impersonated Steel Expert Company, a well-known multinational steel company in the world.
Sanusi said that few weeks after the engagement of Global Infrastructure, it was discovered that Steel Expert Company was not involved in the deal. He said the agreement was between the Federal Government and another company, Global Infrastructure Holding Ltd from India.
Sanusi said that Global Infrastructure was registered as a company in Nigeria and in 2008 and that the late President Umaru Yar’Ardua set up a committee to investigate its activities.
He said the contract was terminated after the investigation. Sanusi said the association recently learnt that Global Infrastructure Company would soon be engaged to take over Itakpe Iron Ore Mining Company. “And the Itakpe Iron Ore Mining Company was the genesis of efforts leading to the establishment of Ajaokuta Steel Company, as it is the source of the primary raw material for the steel company.