The Nigerian House of Representatives say it will resist any move to concession a Multi-billion Naira Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, as doing so would amount to concessioning the country’s future.
The Speaker of the House Mr. Yakubu Dogara made the statements when he led members of the House Committee on Steel to the company in Kogi State, Nigeria.
Mr. Dogara who described the non-completion of the project after so many years as a collective shame to all leaders announced that the House will consult with stakeholders to work out ways to source for the $500 million about N180billion needed to complete the last phase of the project.
He noted that except the political will is lacking, getting the funds to complete the company should not be an issue.
“The reason why the steel company had not been completed was due to a leadership problem, where there is competent leadership, ways to source funding for such a multi potential company will not be a problem.
The present leadership has shown direction by first ending an arbitration case in foreign jurisdiction.
There are many ways through which the $500 million can be sourced, including the Sovereign Wealth Fund, Excess Crude Account and recovered financial crimes loot.” Dogara disclosed.
The Speaker explained that the House will hold another sectoral debates, where the lawmakers will meet with relevant agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, whose chairman, will be expected to brief the House on how much it has recovered from corruption proceeds that can be applied into the completion of the project.
“Imagine if this plant had been completed in 1986, where Nigeria would be at the moment.
Any patriotic Nigerian that visits this place will shed tears irrespective of the part the person is from and for a foreigner that visits here, when he hears people describe this place as a shithole, he will go with the impression that it may be true. We have no reason not to complete that plant.
You cannot concession your future, it is never done. I’m yet to see a nation that even concessions its bedrock and still succeeded. If you see one, just tell me. And that’s why previous attempts to concession it were not possible.” The Speaker said.
Mr. Dogara maintained that running and managing the company can be concession after completion since government is not a good manager of companies.
At the Government House Lokoja, Governor Yahaya Bello commended Speaker Dogara for partnering with President Buhari to ensure that the idle lying Ajaokuta Steel Company is revived and put into use again.
He assured him that this visit is going to be worth the while, and agreed with his earlier position that funds should not be the reason why the company will not be completed, if the political will is present.
“What you and the House of Reps are doing is giving the younger generation their future.
We are simply taking our destiny into our hands, not only will posterity be kind to you, God almighty will also be pleased with you.” Governor Bello added.
The Ajaokuta Steel Development Company is key to Nigeria’s industrial and economic development through power and gas development, economic boost, jobs creation, development of manufacturing sector, development of infrastructure, investor appeal, among others.