COMPLETED facilities at the Ajaokuta Steel Company in Kogi State will soon commence operations, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Musa Sada has said.
The minister, who made the disclosure on Monday in Lokoja, said the Federal Government would soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with some private investors.
He also disclosed plans by the government to commence exportation of ceramic tiles, from various production facilities across the country.
Sada said at the beginning of a three-day working tour of the company with his counterpart in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, that the investors were trade partners and not core investors.
He said the investors would be engaged on a short-term basis to operate the completed facilities, adding that the approach was to avoid past mistakes.
Sada said that the move would save machines at the company from further deterioration, adding that the steel company workers were among the best trained.
The minister also said that the steel sector was very crucial to the attainment of industrial revolution, hence, the attention being paid to it.
He said the team would also visit the mining sites in Koton Large and other communities, saying that government planned to use the sector as an alternative to oil in terms of revenue and job creation.
Besides, Sada said the case between the Federal Government and Global Infrastructure Nigeria Ltd, an Indian company, which bought Ajaokuta Steel company had been settled out of court.
He explained that the Federal Government terminated its contract with Global Infrastructure on the ground that the company lacked the requisite competence in management.
“We have about six memoranda of understanding on the various rolling mills and the training school. We have 40 experts from Ukraine working on rehabilitating the place and running it,’’
Speaking also, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, described the state as a confluence of opportunities.
He said the state was rich in solid mineral deposits and arable land for agriculture which had remained undeveloped for years.
Aganga advised the state to key into the Federal Government’s industrial revolution plan for its potential and posterity of the citizens.
He recalled the state’s contribution to the country’s achievement of sufficiency in cement production, saying the Federal Government was banking on it to achieve the same feat in ceramic products production.
The minister, who highlighted the country’s achievement in automobile assembly plants, said also that local manufacturing of some vital motor parts would commence soon.
Gov. Idris Wada of Kogi in his remarks expressed delight over the decision to reopen the completed parts of the steel company.
He also applauded the gradual approach to the completion of the project and commended President Goodluck Jonathan for fulfilling his 2011 electioneering campaign promise on the project.
The minister, in an interview with MAN, said the country had the largest tile factories in West Africa, adding that it would begin the exportation of ceramic tiles just like it did with cement.
“We are hoping that very soon, we will make a declaration on production of ceramic tiles because all our efforts are aimed at industrial production and how to create jobs,’’ he said.
Sada said Nigeria had five privately owned ceramic tile factories, three of which were located in Lagos State, while one each was located in Cross River and Kogi respectively.
“We have the background information on clay deposits and other minerals we have to give these factories and potential investors to enhance the development of the minerals,” he said.
Curled from The Guardian