Coalition Declares Support for Local Investors, Kicks Against Concessioning Ajaokuta Steel

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The coalition of civil society organizations working for the revival of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL) has declared its support for the privatization of the steel company.

The coalition urged Federal government to stop the concessioning agreement and consider the privatization of the ASCL and the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) by encouraging local investors.

This is contained in a statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator, NGO Network, Mohammed Bougei Attah and Otunba Ajayi-Smith, member, Africa Citizens Development Foundation, which was made available to newsmen on Friday.

According to the statement, the coalition commended the move by the Minister of Mines and Steel, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, in the ongoing privatization process involving a review of select firms bidding as investors in the Ajaokuta Steel Company.

The coalition expressed confidence that the government would follow due process by applying the direct sourcing or selective bidding processes.

“We view the recent comment by the Honourable Minister, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, where he informed Nigerians of the ongoing privatization process involving a review of select firms bidding as investors in the company, as positive and in the right direction.

“Though details about the procurement of the firms and consultants for the processes are not made public yet, we believe the government will follow due process by applying the direct sourcing or selective bidding processes.

“As civil society group monitoring the developments around the steel plant, we wish to reinstate our earlier support to the government on the ongoing privatization efforts, which in our opinion is to encourage local investors in the affairs of the company for effective and efficient management and productivity.

”As a point to note, one of the recommendations of the November 25, 2021 National Conference on Ajaokuta Steel Complex and President Muhammadu Buhari Industrialization Agenda, was for the government to stop the concessioning agreement and consider the privatization of the ASCL and the National Iron Ore Mining Company, NIOMCO, by encouraging local investors.

“The conference frowned at any attempt to reconsider the issue of concessioning the two companies or to allow foreign investors, as the above two factors have been the bane of setbacks recorded over the last 30 years by the two establishments,” the statement said.

The CSO coalition commended the Federal Government over the settlement of debt owed to a foreign firm that has now set ASCL and NIOMCO on a positive new course.


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