By Monsuru Olowoopejo
In furtherance of its drive to diversify the Nigerian economy, the Federal Government has inaugurated a team of experts to fast-track the revival of Ajaokuta Steel plant and end the over four decades of unproductiveness at the facility.
The team tagged Ajaokuta Presidential Project Implementation Team (APPIT), is expected to kick start the process of bringing the Steel plant back to contributing to Nigeria’s economic growth and development.
The Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who inaugurated the team on Monday in Abuja, disclosed that preliminary works have commenced to determine parameters for effective and coordinated take-off of rehabilitation works on the Steel plant.
While noting that President Muhammadu Buhari approved composition of the implementation team, Mustapha the aim behind the entire agenda was to Nigeria the largest fully integrated steel producer in West Africa and accelerate the country’s industrialization especially in steel related industries to reduce dependency on oil sector.
To actualize these, the SGF said the APPIT will engage every bilateral negotiation that leads to the execution of the Government-to-Government Agreement with the Russian Federation and the Afreximbank on behalf Nigeria.
Mustapha added: “Provide all relevant technical and other inputs necessary to close the Government-to-Government negotiations;
“Ensure that the best extreme possible, all relevant raw materials are sourced locally, bearing in mind the local content provisions and the Presidential Executive Order 005;
“Scrutinize and assemble Nigerian Content Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC), Special Purpose Vehicle Contractors which will embody the Co-Concessionaire representing Nigeria’s interest in the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Concession.
“Ensure the resuscitation of Ajaokuta Steel Plant (ASP) based on the original design; and its timely commissioning within a reasonable period to be agreed upon by the parties to the agreement and recommend primary tenure of a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Concession”, the SGF added.