Federal government is looking for alternative ways of funding in its bid to complete the Ajaokuta Steel plant and make it functional.
The permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel, Chief John Femi Jegede who disclosed this yesterday at Ajaokuta Steel Complex, Kogi State during familiarisation tour of the steel plant, said the plant was crucial to the realisation of President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda.
He said the ministry was looking for alternative ways of seeking for funding and fast track the completion of the remaining segments of the steel plant as it was the bedrock of the nation’s industrialisation.
“ What we mean by alternative funding is signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to complete the remaining part of the plant. Currently we have signed MoU to complete some segments of it and those that are not working before are now functioning. More MoU will come into play and the plant will work. As soon as this report is submitted to the minister, action would be taken because the investment is huge,” he said.
He commended the efforts of the steel workers in making the plant viable despite the long abandonment and called on the management of the plant to come up with more MoU to revitalise the plant.
Earlier, the sole administrator, Ajaokuta Steel Company, Engr. Joseph Isah, said the steel plant was viable and would put the country on the path of industrialisation if completed and put to use.
According to him, the steel plant has signed MoU with various investors to put the completed segments into use, saying that the recent audit of the mechanical state of the plant was satisfactory.
He added that with the MoU, they have been able to recover the abandoned shipments of spares of broilers for the plant thermal worth over $2.5 million and abandoned at Lagos Port since 2004.
He however identified inadequate funding and infrastructure as the problems confronting the steel, appealing to the federal government to make the plant functional as the desire of the country to become one of the 20th most developed economies of the world by 2020 depends on the completion and functioning of the steel plant.