The Federal Government on Monday kicked off the long awaited resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel project with the inauguration of the Ajaokuta Presidential Project Implementation Team (APPIT).
The Ajaokuta Steel plant had languished for about four decades while previous efforts at reviving it had proved abortive, resulting in massive foreign exchange losses and opportunity cost to the country.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, is the chairman of the team while the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, is the Alternate Chairman.
Inaugurating the committee, the SGF said government intended to create opportunities for the development of national capacity for real industrialisation.
Mustapha stressed the importance of the Ajaokuta steel plant to the country and the unique opportunity to make it become West Africa’s largest fully integrated producer and most importantly, to accelerate industrialisation in steel related industries.
He noted that the government places a lot of value on the diversification of the economy, hence, President Muhammadu Buhari’s participation at the Russia/Africa summit in Sochi, Russia, wherefore, the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta steel plant with its Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin.
The Chairman said “inauguration of the “Ajaokuta Presidential Project and Implementation Team” was meant to kick start the process of re-directing the activities of the Steel Plant with the aim of bringing the Steel Project back to life for the growth and economic development of our dear nation.”
According to Mustapha, the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the team included the following:
- Engage in all bilateral negotiations as shall be necessary on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria leading to the execution of the Government-to-Government Agreement with the Russian Federation and the Afreximbank.
- Provide all relevant technical and other inputs necessary to close the Government-to-Government negotiations.
- Ensure that the best extreme possible, all relevant raw materials are sourced locally, bearing in mind the local content provisions and the Presidential Executive Order 005.
- Scrutinize and assemble Nigerian Content Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC), Special Purpose Vehicle Contractors which will embody the Co-Concessionaire representing Nigeria’s interest in the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Concession.
- Ensure the resuscitation of Ajaokuta Steel Plant (ASP) based on the original design.
- Ensure timely commissioning of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant (ASP) within a reasonable period to be agreed upon by the parties to the agreement and recommend primary tenure of a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Concession.
The membership of the Ajaokuta Presidential Project Implementation Team (APPIT) included Secretary to the Government of the Federation as Chairman; Hon. Minister of Mines and Steel Development as Alternate Chairman; Permanent Secretary, Mines and Steel Development; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance; and Solicitor-General of the Federation/Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice all members.
Other members of the team included Mr. Gabriel Aduda; Sole Administrator, Ajaokuta Steel Company Ltd; Sole Administrator, National Iron Ore Mining Company; Engr. Vincent Dogo (Industry Expert); Prof. Elegba S.B. (Industry Expert); Dr. Godwin Adeogba (Industry Expert); Director-General, ICRC; and Director Steel, MMSD.