Russians set to visit, commence technical audit
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Federal Government, Monday, assured that resuscitation of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, ASCL, and National Iron Ore Mining Company Limited, NIOMCO, will commence soon.
This was disclosed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade, in a statement signed by the Director, Press, Itore Thomas, while on a two-day working visit to the two companies.
According to the statement Akinlade was at the two companies to assess level of preparedness ahead of the visit of Russians who are soon to arrive the country to commence technical audit of the two companies.
She also maintained that the Buhari-led administration will do everything possible to put the two industrial giants on tack to start production in no distant time following doggedness of the two Ministers in the sector; Arc Olamilekan Adegbite and Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, who have being working assiduously to ensure the two companies function.
While commending management and staff of the two companies on their commitment and sense of patriotism in safeguarding assets by keeping them in good shape and the environment habitable in spite of the daunting challenges confronting them.
She said: “Ajaokuta is the future, the bed rock of Nigeria development,” adding that the resuscitation must be done, and can be done.
“Ajaokuta without NIOMCO are like a car without tyres, hence efforts are being made to resuscitate both companies at the same time to achieve the desired result.”
However, she called on staff to brace up to new challenges on modern mode of operation in regards to new technologies after completion of the expected technical audit, and urged them to maintain good industrial harmony, which she assured them that efforts are being made to address some of their welfare challenges, especially salary arrears.
While briefing the Permanent Secretary, Sole Administrator, NIOMCO, Nkechika Augustus, said the mandate of the company is to provide the basic raw material for iron and steel production, and that NIOMCO is required to supply the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited with 2.15 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate with iron (FE) content of 63 – 64% in its first phase of operation during which it is expected to produce 1.3 million tonnes of steel.
“The need to fully complete the rehabilitation of the plants and also acquire additional mining equipment early cannot be overemphasized. This is because to meet the first phase of ASCL’s production level alone, NIOMCO should produce and process seven million tonnes of raw iron ore annually,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Sole Administrator, SA, Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, Engr Sumaila Abdul-Akaba, explained that the staff are fully prepared to work with the Technical Audit Team and the Ministry as well in order to achieve the set goal.
“I have had the rear opportunity to meet with you severally since you came on board and have found you to be focused, full of energy and drive. In fact, your leadership style at the Ajaokuta Presidential Project Implementation Team (APPIT) Secretariat gives me hope that our collective efforts of bringing back the Ajaokuta Steel plant back on track is in safe hand.”
“Your visit is an opportunity for you to physically see and feel the steel plant and understand what the workers of this steel plant are doing to ensure that the plant remain safe and serviceable”, Abdul-Akaba said.
The facilities inspected by the Permanent Secretary include blocks of flats for residential accommodation for the expected Russian Technical Audit Team, office accommodation, transport facilities, medical centre, equipment store, machine & tools shop, among others.