Federal Government has set fresh target in its efforts to ensure that Ajaokuta Steel Company begins full capacity operation.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite revealed the two-year deadline during a recent tour of the steel complex in Ajaokuta, Kogi State.
Commending the staff of the company for ensuring the security and maintenance of the facilities, he said, “The plants are there and some of them are fully functional. The only reason Ajaokuta is still here is because the staff are being paid salaries over the years.
“They have not only ensured that the plants are here, they ensured their maintenance and functionality.”
According to Adegbite, though the workshops are functioning, the desire of the Federal Government is to upgrade the facility to manufacturing and production of materials for possible export.
He said the Federal Government would collaborate with the African Export-Import Bank and the Russia Export Centre to ensure that the steel plant was rehabilitated for full capacity operations.
The Ajaokuta Steel Company began in 1979 with assistance from the then-Soviet Union, with no fewer than $8 billion of public money spent on the steel company even as repeated attempts to revive the project by transferring it to private investors has so far failed.
However, Russian engineering and construction group MetProm is to undertake the necessary work to bring the facility into operation.
The Federal Government has allocated N3.796 billion to the Steel Plant in the 2020 Budget, counting on Russia to get the complex running optimally.
An accord to revive the Ajaokuta project was reached at a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in Russia in October.