Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
The minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said that the House of Representatives has misunderstood the on-going process to make Ajaokuta Steel Plant operational.
A statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media to the minister, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode indicated that a transaction Adviser was yet to be appointed for the renewed concessioning and that such a decision must be approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
It read in full:
The attention of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari, has been drawn to the debate by members of the House of Representatives on the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, where the House adopted a resolution to stop the planned concessioning of the steel company.
Whilst the ministers are convinced the Honourabe members mean well as patriots concerned about an important national asset, it is also a fact that they have grossly misunderstood the ministers and other stakeholders working with the Ministry on this exercise.
“In view of this and the need to set the record straight for the sake of the general public and the investing community, it is important to state as follows:
The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has not contracted any transactional adviser for the concessioning of Ajaokuta Steel Company, as wrongly asserted by the House.
The process for the appointment of a Transactional Adviser is on, but cannot be completed until it gets the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The Ministry has not spent a dime from the N2, 096,500.00 (Two billion, ninety six million, five hundred thousand naira) appropriated by the House for the concessioning of Ajaokuta Steel Company (in the 2017 Appropriation Law).
The mediation process that led to the amicable settlement of the legal encumbrances on Ajaokuta Steel Complex has not ended. There are still a few more steps to be taken as outlined in the terms of (out of court) settlement. And the Ministry is following up on this.
It is also important to state that no one has been hired.
We find it rather worrisome that the House of Representatives could devote an entire day to an issue that has not even arisen.
The Ministry remains committed to making Ajaokuta Steel Plant function effectively, convinced that steel remains the most important engineering material and backbone of industrialisation in any economy.