Restrictions of air travels as a result of the outbreak of novel coronavirus pandemic, stalled the take off the proposed resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, it’s Sole Administrator, Engineer Sumaila Aka’aba, has disclosed.
In an interactive session with journalists on Saturday in Ajaokuta, Kogi State, the sole administrator lamented that the anomaly has led to loss of four months in their arrival plan for the Russian partners.
Daily Trust reports that the federal government in May inaugurated the presidential implementation committee headed by the Secretary to the Government of Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha for the project.
This followed the renewed interests by the Russian government, who are working with the Africa Import and Export Bank, to pool funds in excess of $1.4bn to revive the steel plants whose construction commenced about 42years ago.
Engineer Aka’aba said as soon as the airspace restriction is over, the Russians will come back and do revalidation of the audit report on the complex earlier submitted to them.
According to him, the technical audit carried out in 2018 indicated that the status of the steel plant stood at 93.5 per cent, adding that as at today the steel industry is ready for rehabilitation works to be carried out by the Russians.
The sole administrator waved aside claims in some quarters that Ajaokuta steel plant is obsolete, noting that the integrated plant is technically intact and will bounce back to life once the rehabilitation works are carried out.
He noted that the items used in building the steel plant was of high quality and standard that can be found any where in the world.
“Initially, you hear that Ajaokuta steel plant is 98 per cent completion , but today it has come down to 95.3 per cent which was clearly stated in a twelve volume documents we used to discuss with Russian government when President Muhammadu Buhari visited the country last year.
“It is also the document we used to engaged the Russians and they have made proposals on what to do in Ajaokuta steel company and that is why they will be coming to the steel plant to revalidate the technical audit to be sure that our claims on the status of the plant are correct and in order” he stated.
“Hopefully as soon as the airspace restriction is over, the Russians will come back and do revalidation of the audit report submitted to them to confirm what we said is Ajaokuta steel plant status, after fourth years they left the plant.
“After the revalidation they can now put pen on paper so that the project proper can commence” he noted.
He added that the Ajaokuta steel plant, just like any other plant in the world can be upgraded and modernized to suite the present day technological advancement.
“The proposal from TPE the original builder of the plant who is representing Russian government is to upgrade, modernize and complete the remaining part of the steel complex for optimum utilization to enable the two governments involved recover their capital investment”
He commended the staff of the industry for their commitment towards ensuring that the plant maintained it status, Engr Aka’aba however assured them that very soon the steel complex would bounce back to life.