The Federal Government has reinstated its resolve to make the Ajaokuta Steel Company work in the bid to step up the country’s technological development.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this while speaking at the 2016 Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit in Kaduna on Thursday.
Fayemi assured the participants, mainly investors and business owners, of the Federal Government’s commitment to making the Ajaokuta Steel Company work.
“Ajaokuta will work, but in a manner that is private-sector driven,” the Minister said.
He explained that government was prepared to give the steel company to any serious-minded investor with a workable plan and provable evidence of finance, capable of turning the enterprise around.
Dr. Fayemi said the technical and financial abilities of the investor as well as his commitment to make the steel company work effectively are of greater importance to the government than the amount the government would get from its sale.
He noted that aside serving as a major support for the technological base of the country, the company, when in full operation, would also generate thousands of employment opportunities.
The minister said it was unacceptable for government to keep footing the huge wage bill arising from maintaining the work force at the company.
Fayemi lamented that oil had blinded the country for a long time from looking the way of other viable economic resource corridors for diversifying the revenue base of its economy.
Fayemi, who hailed Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s investment drive in Kaduna State, said the Federal Government is set to partner with state governments in a strategic manner to ensure inclusive development.
He urged state governments from the same geopolitical zone to collaborate to create recourse corridor to take full advantage of mineral deposits around them.
Governor el-Rufai had had earlier remarked that Kaduna State had more gold reserve than South Africa and decried the loss from informal mining activities as well as illegal export of precious minerals that are unaccounted for.
He said the state will deepen the working relationship with the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development in turning the state’s mining activities into a huge success, adding that he was optimistic the Ministry would provide solutions to the illegal activities in the sector.