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The federal Government through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), may be closing in on committing a business blunder if it agrees to a deal that will reduce gas price and supplies to the Aluminium Smelting Company of Nigeria (ALSCON), Ikot Ibasi, Akwa Ibom State without recourse to other private entities facing the same gas price crisis.
This was disclosed by a bulk electricity supply consultant in Lagos, Alhaji Sani Mohammed.
He said “The Nigerian gas market has been liberalized and everybody has been adjusting its systems so as to contain the gas price and supply issues. So coming at this time to favour a particular entity in the name of creating an environment for that entity to compete internationally is unacceptable.
“Gencos are also working to compete internationally. So also other manufacturing concerns are all interested in becoming internationally competitive and therefore it cannot be only ALSCON that wishes to start immediately and become the jewel of the international competition.
Mohammed therefore called on the Federal Government to treat every investment with the same measure to avoid suspicions and unnecessary double standards.
Business Hilights gathered that all is set for ALSCON to commence production by the new owners, but issues of gas price and supplies logistics are causing serious bottlenecks.
However, there are strong indications that the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and other critical stakeholders of the company are reaching a comprehensive resolution on the major teething problem of gas confronting the Company.
Already, contrary to global best practices according to gas users, the BPE has requested the Federal Government to consider and approve the categorisation of ALSCON under a strategic industry to enable it buy gas at a concessionary price as opposed to the commercial price to enable the core investor in the company- DHL/RUSAL recommence production and operate profitably.
Director General of the BPE, Mr. Alex A. Okoh in a statement, noted that following the signing of Addendum No.2 to the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) on 17th January, 2018, at the Ministry of Mines & Steel Development (MMSD), DHL/RUSAL submitted a Road map detailing issues that require urgent resolution prior to the commencement of operations which include but not limited to the issue of gas price and supply.
He observed that “Upon the resolution of the gas price and supply issues a new agreement will be signed in line with current realities. It will also take into consideration the trend internationally to allow ALSCON remain competitive in the global aluminium products market”.
Continuing, Okoh assured that once the gas issue is fully resolved and the agreement signed, President Muhammad Buhari would in the next few weeks commission the plant to signal the recommencement of operations by ALSCON.
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