By Isaac Anumihe
Federal Government yesterday disclosed that the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company would soon fall under the auctioneers’ hammer as plans to privatise the steel giant have been concluded.
Speaking during a facility tour of Abuja Steel Mill, a subsidiary of African Steel Company, along Abuja-Kaduna Road, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, stated that the government was putting a lot in place to ensure that the Ajaokuta Steel Complex gets back to life.
He said experts with proven track records and required financial capability would be encouraged to key into the scheme through a competitive bidding process that would be transparent.
In a statement, Special Assistant to Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, said the government is committed to ensuring that Ajaokuta works because it believes that a functional Ajaokuta Steel complex would greatly assist the country’s developmental drives.
He identified the most crucial needs of the country now as energy and power and advised that since government is putting the necessary infrastructure in place to address these needs, steel companies operating in the country should continue to maintain high product quality and put them out at reasonable prices for consumers, especially now that the pressure on the dollar is reducing.
The Minister pledged the support of government to the companies that are manufacturing locally and urged them to develop training programmes that would empower and groom young graduates, indigenous engineers and artisans.
“It is important that you come up with training schemes for young graduates and artisans. As you train more of these young indigenous engineers and artisans and absorb them, you will also gradually reduce the number of your expatriates, and this will help us as a country and also help your business,” he said.