Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara has disclosed that the parliament will resist any move to concession Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, saying doing so would amount to concessing Nigeria’s future.
The speaker, who said it is a collective shame to all leaders that the project is yet to be completed after so many years, made these statements when he led members of the House Committee on Steel to the company in Kogi State.
Hon Dogara also announced that the House will consult with stakeholders to work out ways to source for the $500 million needed to complete the last phase of the project, while noting that except the political will is lacking, getting the funds to complete the company shouldn’t be an issue.
He said the reason why the steel company had not been completed was due to a leadership problem, saying where there is competent leadership, ways to source funding for such a multi potential company will not be a problem.
Saying the present leadership has shown direction by first ending an arbitration case in foreign jurisdiction, Hon Dogara disclosed that there are many ways through which the $500 million can be sourced, including the Sovereign Wealth Fund, Excess Crude Account and recovered financial crimes loot.
The Speaker added that the House will hold another of its sectoral debates, where the lawmakers will meet with relevant agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) whose chairman, Ibrahim Magu, will be expected to brief the House how much it has recovered from corruption proceeds that can be applied into the completion of the project.
He explained that his determination to ensure that the steel company is revived is borne out of the promises that the company holds for Nigeria’s teeming population in the form of power and gas development, economic boost, thousands of jobs creation, development of manufacturing sector, development of infrastructure, investor appeal, among others.
The speaker maintained that running and managing the company can be concessioned after completion since government is not a good manager of companies.
Earlier, when the parliamentary delegation visited the Government House, the Speaker explained that, “We are here about a major promise to the country that is located here in Kogi State, which is the Ajaokuta Steel Company Ltd.
“We all know the benefits of steel development. You cannot be an industrialised nation without developing the steel sector.
“Of course, I’ve seen the resolution that was passed and adopted by the Kogi State House of Assembly but I feel that this is just not a Kogi issue, this is a Nigerian issue in view of the major promise that this sector holds for Nigeria.
“I believe that as soon as we put this plant into operation, immediately there will be 10,000 jobs for engineers and technical staff. That’s even as the level of the first phase and talk about other non-engineering staff, thousands again and other splinter opportunities that will come, that’s a projected 2 million jobs.
“We don’t need money, all we need is leadership. Wherever you see development anywhere in the world, it is not money that brought it, some they say it is money but it is leadership. As a matter of fact, it is even leadership that brings the money.