By Godfrey Bivbere
A member of the Senate Committee on Local Content, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, has frowned at the abandonment of the steel plants at Aladja in Delta State and Ajaokuta in Kogi State, which has resulted in huge capital flight from construction of projects such as the Egina platform.
In an exclusive interview with Vanguard in Lagos, Utazi said the absence of robust steel plants in the country was affecting full implementation of the local content policy.
This he explained, was responsible for over 70 per cent of the Total Nigeria Plc-owned Egina platform which recently berthed at the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics (LADOL) Base, to be done outside the country.
He said the nation would have saved a hug part of the $16 billion total cost if the two steel plants were functional.
He stressed that the LODAL base has what was needed to executive such projects, pointing out the need for the Federal Government to take a second look at the two steel plants, especially that of Aladja which the concessionaires have almost run aground.
According to him, “We are working on the issue of steel production, especially as it concerns Aladja and Ajaokuta because you cannot get this kind of project done without doing things yourself. We have been told that they moved to and fro between Nigeria and Korea. If we had the steel plants working, we would not be going over there.”
The senator, however, commended the initiative and efforts of the promoters of the project because of the revenue generation and employment opportunity attached to Egina platform.
He stressed the need for government to ensure that future projects such as the Egina platform are wholly completed in the country to avoid capital flight.