Nigeria has recovered ownership of Ajaokuta Steel Company, ASC, and National Iron Ore Mining Company Limited, NIOMCO, Itakpe, following the resolution of a protracted legal dispute.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at the maiden meeting of the National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development.
He said Nigeria and Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited, GINL, have signed a ‘Modified Concession Agreement’ resolving their protracted dispute on the two companies located in Kogi State.
He said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo executed the agreement on behalf of the Federal Government.
“With this development, both NIOMCO and Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited have now reverted to the Federal Government Nigeria, and we can now proceed to engage a new core investor with the financial and technical capacity to run the steel complex.
“The operation of ASC will provide the needed inputs to support the infrastructure requirements of the country and lead to import substitution, and save the country about $3.3 billion annually spent on the importation of steel products,” Mr. Fayemi said.
The Ajaokuta Steel Company is Nigeria’s biggest steel plant. It was planned as an integrated steel complex to provide raw materials input and output to other industries such as the Katsina, Osogbo and Aladja, steel rolling mills.
Contractual encumbrances had left the steel company uncompleted and non-functional for decades, PREMIUM TIMES learned.
Negotiations for amicable resolution of the ownership crisis of the foremost steel company has dragged on since 2008, leaving the country’s steel and industrial sectors largely paralysed.
A National Bureau of Statistics report on Nigeria’s Foreign trade released Wednesday had showed that the total value of solid minerals trade in the second quarter of 2017 stood at N194.6 billion representing 3.42 per cent of total trade.
“With respect to imports, solid minerals imports valued at N191.5 billion were imported representing 11.52% of total imports in Q2 2017.
“Solid mineral imports increased by 1,527.44 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2017 but was 1,947.52 per cent higher than the solid mineral imports in the second quarter of 2016” the report indicated.
It also showed that Solid Minerals exports in Q2 2017 valued at N3.06 billion represented 0.1 per cent of total exports in the second quarter of 2017.
“Solid minerals exports value in the second quarter, decreased by 27.58 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2017 but was 122.01 per cent higher than the Solid Minerals exports in second quarter of 2016” the report revealed.
Mr. Fayemi further said “the ministry is similarly working in concert with industry stakeholders to expand the domestic processing of our other ores, which will lead to the creation of jobs and reduce the pressure on our Naira.”