By Gabriel Ewepu (Vanguard News)
AS the Federal Government intensify effort to diversify the economy, the original builder of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, TyazhPromoExport, TPE, have promised to come back to resuscitate the multi-billion complex.
This was disclosed by Principal Geologist, Orbitwaves Geosciences Limited, Solomon Jerry, while expressing confidence that the Buhari-led administration could demonstrate the political will to revamp the economy with ASCL.
Jerry said: “TyazhPromoExport (TPE) is the Russian company that designed and built the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL) up to 98 percent as at October 1993, through an effort that engaged over 1000 Russian experts and 3,500 Nigerians without considering suppliers and employees of companies that sprang up to provide services to the construction company.
“Out of curiosity, I researched into what could have made TPE, the original builder of ASCL to turn their back on a project that was their brainchild. But in addition to confirmation that they have always been willing and ever ready to return to Nigeria to complete Ajaokuta Steel Complex, TyazhPromoExport, the company that initiated, designed and executed Ajaokuta Steel Complex to 98 percent completion has it conspicuously posted on their website, that they are willing to return to complete Ajaokuta steel plant. http://bit.ly/1T2PHTS
“In addition to Ajaokuta Steel plant as a proof of their technical expertise, TPE had completed over 40 world class mines, steel and mineral processing plants spread across the world. The fact that all of these mines and plants are functioning to the full capacity except for ASCL, which is located in Nigeria, raises a million questions
He lamented that previous administrations in the country had always expressed inability and political will to make Ajaokuta one Nigeria’s economic hub for job creation, industrialisation and revenue generation.
However, he said the Buhari administration has shown interest in the project and has started making moves to inject life into it.
“The famous Russian company, who had built a reputation in constructing mining and mineral processing plants around the world, especially in iron and steel plants, pulled out of the project in 1994 following the inability of Nigerian government to fulfil their obligations on the project.
“Since the inception of President Buhari’s regime, he has been very clear on his commitment to complete Ajaokuta Steel Company and get it running as part of his economic diversification options, a commitment that is strongly supported by the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who also realises the importance of steel as critical to industrial growth of any nation.
“As expected from anyone who really meant well for the project, the most viable option to consider towards its completion would be to hand it back to the original builder who conducted the architectural and engineering design and built it to 98 per cent completion. In doing that, the Hon. Minister was erroneously informed that the company is no longer interested in operating the project”, Jerry stated.
He also advised President Buhari no to repeat the mistakes of the previous administrations on Ajaokuta steel plant and further wastage of the scarce resources of the country, but to handover the ASCL back to the original builder who has the architectural and engineering designs and had also demonstrated ability to complete and get the project up and running.
“In addition to been the pride of President Buhari’s administration, if completed, ASCL will create jobs for the citizens, generate revenue for the government and spring up industrial revolution in Nigeria”, he added.