An envisaged resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant has been stalled by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite.
The building of the plant commenced in 1979 when President Shehu Shagari and his Russian counterpart, President Leonid Brezhnev signed a deal to build the plant.
The plant was conceived to be the largest of its type in Africa and it was expected to be the springboard for Nigeria’s technological advancement.
However, the building of the plant has been characterized by tales of woe and failed hopes, according to analysts.
Speaking at a news forum in Abuja on Saturday, February 28, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, lamented that plans by the Federal Government to resuscitate the plant had been stalled by the outbreak of COVID-19.
He said that the government had envisaged getting the plant running by 2022 but that the plan was stalled by the outbreak of COVID-19.
He said the outbreak of the disease had delayed an agreement reached with the Russian government to commence work on the plant in the first quarter of last year.
The minister noted that the plant, which he described as an “unfortunate baby ” was close to completion, with all installed machinery still functional when the pandemic set in.
He, however, lauded the company’s workers for keeping the plant running and ensuring that the machinery was not vandalised, in spite of the plant not being operational.
“Ajaokuta Steel Plant was well-conceived and the execution went on according to plan until 1984 when it was derailed.
“Essentially, the inputs that would go into the plant, apart from iron ore, were overlooked when the plant was being built.
“It is about 95 per cent completed and all the machinery are still functional. I commend the staff for ensuring that the machinery was not vandalised.
“At the Russian-African Summit in 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari approached the Russian government and specifically asked for help on the Ajaokuta Steel Plant.
“President Putin acceded to the request and the plan was for them to start work on March 2020 and conclude by the third quarter of 2022.
“The Russians had already constituted a 60-man team to begin a technical audit of the plant before the outbreak of COVID-19.”
The minister assured that the plant, when operational, would contribute to the government’s economic diversification, job creation, and poverty reduction.
He said that several foreign and local investors had expressed interest to invest in the plant.
Adegbite named Afreximbank, Stronghold Global Financial, Inova Capital AG, and Repom Company Nigeria Ltd. as investors that had indicated an interest in the plant.
“Everybody sees the potential of Ajaokuta Steel Plant. We have about five sources of funding and we are `spoilt’ for choice.
“We also have a proposal for public-private partnership arrangement and any preferred choice will be beneficial to Nigeria and Nigerians.
“When completed the plant will provide 10,000 direct engineering jobs, with thousands of other supporting jobs.
“It will boost government’s economic diversification and poverty reduction plan.”
Join the conversation
Join the conversation
Investigation… Inside Enugu markets where traders are choked by multiple taxes
In recent times, the world economy has developed tremendously and this is partly linked with activities of petty traders who...
SPECIAL REPORT: How flood-ravaged farmlands in Anambra threaten food production
Increased rainfall, as a result of climate change, has impacted negatively on many parts of the world. In Anambra State,...
INVESTIGATION… How NDDC spent N2bn on abandoned, non-existent road projects in Edo communities
In 2014, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) awarded 10 road projects worth over N2 billion in various communities in...
INVESTIGATION… Inside NDDC’s abandoned, poorly executed road projects dotting Abia communities (concluded)
In this concluding part, ARINZE CHIJIOKE discovers that apart from the Obohia-Ohuru-Aba Road, there are similar projects initiated by the NDDC in Abia State which...
INVESTIGATION… Messy tales of Abia’s abandoned NDDC road projects (I)
There were feelings of excitement among the people of Ohuru-Ndoki Community when three contractors were prequalified to bid for the construction of...
Again, Kenyan, Ethiopian emerge winners of Lagos City Marathon
Kenya’s Emmanuel Naibei and Ethiopia’s Meseret Dinke, have emerged champions of men’s and women’s categories of the sixth Lagos City...
Rangers extend Balogun’s contract by one year
Glasgow Rangers have extended Nigerian international, Leon Balogun’s contract by one year. The ex-Mainz centre back joined the Scottish giants...
Delta, Kano set new records at national sports festival
As the National Sports Festival (NSF) goes on, Team Delta has continued to dominate the wins at the festival, as...
Lagos issues travel advisory, route diversions for Saturday marathon
The Lagos State Government has released a travel advisory for motorists and commuters ahead of this Saturday’s 6th Access Bank...
FG not aware of any threat from Edo govt to stop sports festival –Ministry
The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has said that it is unaware of any plans or threat by the...
Latest Tech News
TechNigeria: A weekly digest of what went down in Nigeria’s tech space
Nigerian tech players continue to prove to the world the smartness in their vision to take on the world, winning...
Nigeria’s ScholarX among GSMA £250,000 grant winners. 2 other things and a trivia
This line-up of stories will help you discover the latest happenings around the tech world, today. 1. Nigeria’s ScholarX features...
Nigeria-based Premier Hub launches startup challenges. 2 other things and a trivia
This line-up of stories will help you discover the latest happenings around the tech world, today. 1. Nigeria-based Premier Hub...
Nigeria’s Xend Finance introduces DeFi tools to scale operations. 2 other things and a trivia
This line-up of stories will help you discover the latest happenings around the tech world, today. 1. Nigeria’s Xend Finance...
Oracle loses multibillion-dollar case against Google
American information technology company, Oracle, has lost its age-long multibillion-dollar case against Google as the Supreme Court handed victory to...
Nigerian Fintech, Sparkle, launches service to empower SMEs. 2 other things and a trivia
This line-up of stories will help you discover the latest happenings around the tech world, today. 1. Nigerian Fintech launches...