Tuesday, May 24, 2022

FG Not Handing Ajaokuta Steel Plant To UK Firm – Adegbite

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite.

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite has denied news making the round that the government plans to hand over the rehabilitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant to a British firm, describing the claim as false.

However, Adegbite said a Nigerian firm and its British partner expressed interest in carrying out the technical audit for free with no preconditions.

The minister pointed out that the government had been in discussion with a Russian firm, Messrs TPE (nominated by the Russian government), about conducting the technical audit – an action that has been put on hold by the war between Ukraine and Russia.

Adegbite noted that it was difficult to move forward with the Russian firm due to international sanctions placed on Russia and, in turn, affected that country’s firms and businesses.

“Meanwhile, a local company in partnership with a British company has offered to execute the technical audit at no cost to Nigeria and with no preconditions. This was what I said at the media parley at the statehouse and not that Ajaokuta would be handed over to a British company for rehabilitation,” he clarified.

The minister explained that when the technical audit is completed, the result would be shared with all interested investors and potential partners interested in Ajaokuta Steel Plant resuscitation, which they would use to enter their submitted bids.

A statement by the minister’s special assistant on media, Ayodeji Adeyemi, said to ensure that the entire process is transparent, a firm was appointed in 2018 as the transaction advisor.

“This firm has been revalidated by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and will guide and ensure a transparent due process in the selection of the eventual firm for the restoration of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant. The transaction advisor will carry out all financial, environmental and technical due processes to establish the successful firm and the mode of engagement. The various bids would then be ranked by the transaction advisor according to merits,” he said. 

Adegbite noted that the outcome of the transaction advisor’s work would be taken to the Federal Executive Council for robust discussion and eventual decision.

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