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Labour opens new angle to resuscitate Ajaokuta Steel Company, tame concession

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Just as the battle of wits continue between the executive and legislature on the soul of the Ajaokuta Steel Company, Kogi State, the Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ISSAN) has called on the Federal Government to unbundle the company.

The idea, according to the group is ensure its effective operation and viability rather than concession the company.

President of ISSAN, Itopa Bello, who made the call in an interview with journalists in Lagos, noted that if the steel company was unbundled into different companies, it would ensure efficiency and competitiveness.

In his submission, “Ajaokuta has many product entities that have the capacities to stand on their own. It should not be given to a single investor.

“The autonomous entities in the project should be unbundled and given to different serious investors and there will be competition among operators and they will function well.”

While noting that the Ajaokuta steel company was an integrated plant with 43 units, he revealed that about 40 of them had been completed and working effectively.

Bello disclosed that “The remaining three which are the primary and prominent units of the steel company have not been completed and they are not working,” stressing that the functioning 40 units should be unbundled because the company had the ability to start and finish a production without requiring input from outside.

Continuing, ISSAN called for the retaining of TPE, the Russian firm that completed the 40 units should be allowed to finish the whole project since it had the knowledge of the production activities of the company.

The union was of the view that the need for the completion of the remaining components, adding that the company had the capacity to produce the materials required for constructing all the rail-lines across the country.

”With ‘bluom’ the steel company can produce rods for the telecommunication industry and other sectors of the economy.

”It is an integrated steel company that has the ability to start and finish a product without sending it to be done elsewhere,” he said.

Apart from having the capability of supplying all the needed iron for every construction works in the country, Bello said ASC is capable to generate 15,000 direct jobs and 500,000 indirect ones.

Business Hilights recalls that the country recovered ownership of the company and the National Iron Ore Mining Company Limited, Itakpe, from an Indian firm, following the resolution in her favour, of a 10-year old legal dispute.

However, government entered a peace accord with the Indian firm, Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited (GINL), as part of the resolution of the legal tussle.

There has been a running battle between the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and the House of Representative leadership over the best line of action for the company and Nigerian nation.

The cold war is now at the floor of the National Assembly as lawmakers are now in the process of amending the BPE Act to expunge sale of assets of that nature.

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