The Nigerian House of Representatives has called on the government to consider the original builders of Ajaokuta Steel Plant in the proposed negotiations for the completion, reactivation and operation of the project.
The call was contained in a motion unanimously adopted on the need for government to give the builders the right of first refusal in the proposed negotiations with investors.
Presenting the motion, Lawal Idrisu from Kogi State said the aim was to ensure uniformity in the engineering works and technology used in building the Plant for optimum performance.
He said that “the TPE, which conducted the architectural and engineering designs of the Steel Plant and built it to 98% completion is a reputable company that has built many steel and mineral processing plants worldwide.”
The lawmakers are of the belief that the reactivation of the Steel Company, would strengthen the government’s diversification and industrialisation policies for National growth.
Government conceptualized the construction of a steel industry in 1958, and contracted Messrs Tyazhprmexport (TPE), a Russian company, in 1970 to carry out detailed geological studies in Nigeria.
In 1973, TPE discovered substantial iron ore deposits within the Kabba-Okene-Lokoja triangle and submitted a report to the Government in 1975, which led to the establishment of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited in 1979.
In the same year, the global contract for the supply and erection of technological equipment and steel structures, including special civil works, was awarded to TPE which ensured that about 98% of Ajaokuta Steel Plant’s facilities and equipment for the first phase were installed, hence forty one out of the forty three plant units making up the first phase were completed;
In 1994, TPE discontinued construction works at Ajaokuta Steel Complex due to the failure of the Federal Government to put in place the required external infrastructure needed for the operation of the Plant.