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Buhari may not resolve issues on Ajaokuta Steel Complex before end of tenure

Indications have emerged showing that efforts of the current administration in seeing that the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Complex comes to life before the end of tenure may remain a dream.

This is based on the inability of the government to resolve legal bottlenecks from the decision of a London Court of Arbitration over the ownership of the Steel Complex.

The Federal Government and Messrs Global Steel Holding Limited, an Indian firm, started negotiation for amicable resolution of the ownership of Ajaokuta Steel Complex in 2008.

Explaining these issues before the joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, Sole Administrator of the complex, Sumaila Abdul-Akaba, revealed that a 2010 audit report showed that $1.2 billion was required to turn around the moribund plant ahead of planned fresh concession.

He noted that the last technical audit of the steel plant in 2010, gave a clear headway for the revitalization process which includes injection of about $1.2 billion for total rehabilitation, completion and commissioning of the plant.

The amount, he said, included balance of external infrastructure. He gave the breakdown of the amount as $513 million for rehabilitation, completion and commissioning while $687 million will be used for balance of external infrastructure.

According to him, by April, 55mw electricity plant installed in the complex would come on stream, saying already, there were 10,000 houses in the complex with about 4,000 completed.

However, one key encouraging factor about the troubled plant is that all the machines installed in the complex are in tune with modern technology and that all government needs to do is to sort out legal issues surrounding the steel complex and concession it to a credible company.

Currently, Nigeria imports an average of $10 billion steel annually, but the revival of Ajaokuta Steel complex will save the yearly capital flight.