Why Ajaokuta steel remains comatose –Jonathan
Unless the legal issues surrounding the privatisation process of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex are sorted out, the company cannot take off effectively, President Goodluck Jonathan has said.
The president said this on Monday in Abuja while responding to the request by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) delegation from the North Central zone for urgent revitalisation of the company.
Senator Amadu Ali, who led the delegation, had earlier urged Jonathan to reinvigorate the Ajaokuta steel project.
Ali had also implored the federal government to establish a development commission for solid minerals which, he said, were largely available in the zone.
He also told the president that Kogi and Benue were yet to benefit from the derivation principle on revenue formula.
Jonathan said the Ajaokuta Steel Complex is a project that should be dear to anyone desiring to move Nigeria forward, adding that it is the bedrock of his administration’s industrialisation programme.
The president explained that the project had been comatose because of certain litigations arising from its privatisation process.
“Of course, on Ajaokuta, the key thing is that we had some challenges with the privatisation process. The people that got it, there were some issues, but because of these litigations, the project was held down. And all along, we’ve been trying one way or the other. But the project cannot take off very effectively because we want the private sector to come in robustly if we must get out from where we are, but they will find it difficult except the legal issues are sorted out.
“In fact, we’ve similar issues with the Lagos-Ibadan expressway because of the private sector involvement. Bi Courtney could not do it. To bring the private sector in became a problem. So, government had to take over. Until we can sort out everything, the private sector cannot come in, Ajaokuta is a little more complicated. The Lagos-Ibadan road was owned by government. Though Ajaokuta was a government company, it was the one that runs itself.”
He said the issues are being sorted out because without mines and steel, the nation cannot industrialise.
FCT Minister of State Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide commissioning the entrepreneurial complex of Abuja Enterprise Agency in Abuja yesterday.